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Canada Today is a condensed analysis of Cana¬ 
dian conditions and Canadian problems with 
special emphasis on those that have a bearing on 
Canada’s external relations. 

The author describes the most important 
economic, political and social factors which deter¬ 
mine Canada’s national interests and outlook. 
He distinguishes the various schools of opinion 
within the country, and he particularly emphasizes 
the relation between internal forces and external 
policy. Here in simple terms are the facts that 
explain what is happening in Canada at the 
present time. 

On the basis of a realistic discussion of Canada’s 
national interests, the author examines the possi¬ 
bilities of co-operation today between Canada and 
the other member countries of the British Com¬ 

F. R. Scott has been for ten years a member of 
the faculty of law of McGill University, Montreal, 
and is now professor of civil law. He is a member 
of the bar, a former Rhodes scholar, and is well 
known for his writings on Canadian internal and 
external problems. He has several times appeared 
before royal commissions and parliamentary com¬ 
mittees to give evidence on matters relating to 
constitutional and legal reform. 

This volume is published under the auspices of 
the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, 
an unofficial and non-partisan body which exists 
to promote the study in Canada of Commonwealth 
and international affairs. The Canadian Institute 
has submitted Canada Today Jo the second un¬ 
official British Commonwealth Relations Con¬ 
ference, Sydney, Australia, September 1938. 

Bound in cloth 
Bound in paper 



The Canadian Institute of International Affairs 
is an unofficial and non-political body founded in 
1928 to promote “an understanding of international 
questions and problems, particularly in so far as these 
may relate to Canada and the British Empire, and 
. . . an understanding of questions and problems 
which affect the relations of the United Kingdom 
with any other of His Majesty’s Dominions or of 
these Dominions with one another”. 

The Institute, as such, is precluded by its con¬ 
stitution from expressing an opinion on any aspect 
of British Commonwealth relations or of domestic 
or international affairs. The views expressed in 
this book are, therefore, purely individual. 






Professor of Civil Law , McGill University 

With a Foreword By 


Prepared for the 

British Commonwealth Relations Conference, 1938 




Issued under the auspices of the 
Canadian Institute of International Affairs 


Copyright, 1938 


All rights reserved. No part of 
this book may be reproduced in 
any form, by mimeograph or any 
other means, without permission 
in writing from the publishers. 




T HE first unofficial conference on British Commonwealth 
relations, held at Toronto in September 1933, met less 
than two years after the enactment of the Statute of 
Westminster. During that conference there were clear indi¬ 
cations that a new approach to Commonwealth questions 
was emerging, an approach which involved a shifting of 
emphasis from discussion of the constitutional rights of the 
dominions to a search for useful fields of intra-Common- 
wealth co-operation. 

The period from 1887, the date of the first Colonial Con¬ 
ference, down to 1931, the date of the Statute of West¬ 
minster, had been a period of significant constitutional 
development in intra-imperial relations. The more im¬ 
portant colonies had become self-governing dominions, and 
the greater part of Ireland had withdrawn from the United 
Kingdom to become a member country. The result was a 
group of autonomous states—in a word, Empire had become 
Commonwealth. The principal concern of Imperial confer¬ 
ences during that period, especially since the establishment of 
the Irish Free State, had been the settlement of constitutional 
questions. After 1931 most of the important constitutional 
questions that remained had become matters for individual 
action, if and when desired, rather than for group considera¬ 
tion. Such questions, which have already been dealt with by 
one or more of the members of the Commonwealth, are the 
creation of dominion great seals, the abolition of appeals to 
the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the establish¬ 
ment by the executive in a dominion of virtually complete 
control over the office of governor-general, and the removal 
from the domestic law of a dominion of the legal principle of 
the supremacy of the Imperial parliament. There doubtless 
remain subjects which can be more satisfactorily settled by 
mutual agreement. Of these the most pertinent seem to be 



various aspects of foreign relations, of which some have 
already been raised, such as the right to neutrality and the 
right to secession. 

Not only has the British Empire changed, but so has the 
world in which it exists. When the Toronto conference was 
held, Herr Hitler’s appointment as chancellor was only of 
seven months’ standing. Since then we have witnessed the 
rising power of Germany, Japan and Italy; the break-up of 
the Paris peace settlement; the decline of the League; the 
change in the balance of power in Europe and in the Far East. 

In the light of these changes, both internal and external, 
the emphasis must be not upon constitutional adjustments 
as we formerly knew them, but upon another problem, that 
of discovering to what extent there can be a unity of purpose 
and action amongst all the members of the Commonwealth 
or, in some cases, groups of members. 

A number of questions then present themselves—questions 
to which too little attention has been given in the past. 
What are the members of the Commonwealth willing to 
co-operate for? Is general co-operation of advantage to all 
of them, or would their national interests and aspirations be 
better fulfilled by a policy of national isolation, by member¬ 
ship in some regional grouping, or in a revised League of 
Nations? Do these alternatives actually exist for all or any 
member states of the Commonwealth? If the ultimate an¬ 
swers given to such questions by member states differ from 
each other, can varying degrees of co-operation be developed 
without threatening the underlying Commonwealth bond, 
and if so, how? 

In approaching such questions, the second British Com¬ 
monwealth Relations Conference is to start with a realistic 
discussion of the position of each member country. A paper 
is being prepared in each country—in Great Britain, in 
Eire, in India and in each Dominion—describing the most 
important economic, political and social factors which deter¬ 
mine its interests and sentiment, and analysing the move¬ 
ments of opinion amongst its citizens with respect to Com¬ 
monwealth and international affairs. On the basis of these 
statements it is hoped to discover, during the conference, 



those fields of action in which future co-operation between 
two or more or all members of the Commonwealth may be 
most useful to the member countries, the Commonwealth, 
and the world. 

The Canadian Institute entrusted the task of writing the 
principal Canadian paper to Professor F. R. Scott, of McGill 
University. As he himself writes in his preface, his particular 
aim has been “to show the relation between internal forces 
and external policy”. Thus it is that Canada Today, the 
immediate purpose of which is to help in a re-examination of 
Canada’s relations with the other states in the Common¬ 
wealth, deals so largely with Canadian domestic policy. 

The Canadian Institute of International Affairs, which is 
affiliated with all the other Commonwealth institutes, is a 
national organization with branches in sixteen of the prin¬ 
cipal Canadian cities. It is an unofficial and non-partisan 
body, which aims to provide and maintain means of informa¬ 
tion upon Commonwealth and international questions and 
to promote the study and investigation of these questions 
by means of discussion meetings, study groups, conferences, 
and the preparation and publication of books and reports. 

None of the Commonwealth institutes is propagandist. 
They endeavour to include in their memberships repre¬ 
sentatives of all important shades of opinion on Common¬ 
wealth and international affairs. They are precluded by 
their constitutions from expressing an opinion on any aspect 
of domestic, Commonwealth or international affairs. The 
views expressed in this book, as in all Institute publications, 
are purely those of the author or others quoted by him. 

This volume is a condensed analysis of Canadian condi¬ 
tions and Canadian problems that have a bearing on 
Canada’s external relations. For a more detailed discussion 
of similar questions the reader is referred to the publications 
listed in the bibliography in this book and especially to 
Canada Looks Abroad, by R. A. MacKay and E. B. Rogers, 
which was published two months ago under the auspices of 
the Canadian Institute by the Oxford University Press 
(Toronto, London, New York). Canada Looks Abroad deals 
with the geographic, economic and demographic background 


of Canadian policy at greater length than does this volume. 
It then goes on to discuss the historical development of 
Canada’s relations with other parts of the Empire, with the 
League of Nations, with the United States, the Far East and 
the U.S.S.R. One chapter deals with defence; a section is 
concerned with constitutional questions; one chapter de¬ 
scribes the machinery through which external affairs are 
actually conducted; and others discuss the problems of 
parliamentary control of policy, the power of Canada to con¬ 
clude treaties and give effect to them, and the question of 
neutrality. The final section is given to discussions of four 
alternative external policies: the present non-committal 
policy which has evolved slowly over a long period; non¬ 
intervention, or “isolation”; Commonwealth solidarity, or 
a “British front”; and collective security. The book also 
contains about sixty-five pages of documents expressing 
official policy on various aspects of external affairs and the 
views of political leaders on broad issues. 

The National Council of the Canadian Institute of Inter¬ 
national Affairs wish to express their appreciation of the 
service rendered by Professor F. R. Scott in writing Canada 
Today. They also desire to record their gratitude for the 
invaluable assistance rendered by those many members of 
the Canadian and other Institutes who criticized the first 
draft of Mr. Scott’s study. 

E. J. TARR, President, 

Canadian Institute of 
International Affairs. 

Winnipeg, June 13, 1938. 


T HIS short survey of Canadian conditions and opinions 
was prepared at the request of the Canadian Institute 
of International Affairs as the principal Canadian paper 
for the second British Commonwealth Relations Conference 
which is to be held at Sydney, Australia, in September 1938^ 
My aim has been, following the conference agenda, to de¬ 
scribe the most important economic, political and social 
factors which determine Canada’s national interests and 
outlook, to distinguish the various schools of opinion within 
the country, and particularly to show the relation between 
internal forces and external policy. Limits of time and space 
have prevented a more extensive analysis of the many ques¬ 
tions touched upon. Where popular opinions were being 
considered I have tried, though fully aware of the diffi¬ 
culties, to give a three-dimensional rather than a two- 
dimensional picture; to show, that is, not only what the 
a tematives are but also the degree of their support among 
the people and of their harmony or conflict with underlying 
forces. Throughout I have attempted to exclude common 
assumptions about Canada and the Commonwealth and to 
examine the facts objectively, but I am conscious that in the 
last resort even the so-called objective analysis rests un¬ 
avoidably upon personal choice and estimate. The paper is 
a photograph of social facts rather than an attempt to 
answer the questions raised. Other points of view, and more 
detailed reports on special topics, will be presented to the 
conference in the Canadian supplementary papers. 

The first draft of Canada Today, under the title “Canada 
an d the Commonwealth , was written in the summer/of 
1937 and was circulated for comment to the branches of the 
Canadian Institute of International Affairs and to many 
individuals at home and abroad. I am greatly indebted to the 
study groups and to the individuals who read the draft_ 



their names are too numerous to mention—-for their substan¬ 
tial assistance whether in the form of criticism or of new 
material. As far as possible I have embodied their sugges¬ 
tions in the text. In particular I wish to thank the members 
of the Research Committee and the secretariat of the 
Canadian Institute for their help in the work of revision and 
in the details of publication. crwi^r 

F. R. bCOl I. 

McGill University, 

Montreal, June 4, 1938. 




Foreword, by e. j. tarr . v 

Author’s Preface.. 


I. The Influence of Geography .... l 

Boundaries Internal Geographic Divisions—Distribu- 
tion of Population—Effects of Geography. 

II. The Population of Canada.13 

Growth of the Population—Religious Affiliations—Popu- 
lation and Immigration—Present Movements in Popula¬ 
tion—Assimilation of Immigrants—Future Growth of 

III. The Nature of the Canadian Economy . . 27 

Development of the Economy—Transportation System— 
External Debtor and Creditor Position—External Trade 
—Canadian Trade Agreements—Natural Resources— 

The State and Economic Life—Standards of Living— 

Labour and Farmer Organization in Canada. 

IV. Political Parties.61 

Liberal Conservative — Social Credit — Co-operative 
Commonwealth Federation—Other Groups. 

V. The Nationalist Movement in French 


Basis of French-Canadian Nationalism —Union Nationale. 

VI. Constitutional Problems. 75 

Judicial Revolution—Divergence between Constitutional 
Law and National Development. 

VII. The Growth of Canadian National Feeling 83 

VIII. Canada’s Defence Problem.87 

Diplomatic Defences—Military Defence of Canadian 
Territory—Preparation for Defence of the Common¬ 
wealth or of the League. 





IX. Canada’s External Associations . . . 

Associations with the Commonwealth—Associations with 
the United States—Canada and the League of Nations— 
Associations with Other Countries. 

X. Some Advantages and Disadvantages of 
Membership in the Commonwealth . 

XI. The Problem of Neutrality . . • • • 

Emergence of the Problem—Confusion of Opinion in 
Canada—Advantages of Clarification. 

XII. Present Objectives of Canada’s External 
Policies . 


XIII. Co-operation in the Commonwealth 

Bibliography ... 1 . 

Index . 

Maps and Charts 

Distribution of Population. 

Physiographic Divisions of North America 

Physiographic Divisions of Canada 

Net Production, 1935 . 















C ANADA’S geographical position and structure vitally 
affect her external relations as well as her internal or¬ 
ganization. Externally the predominant factor is her 
isolation from every country save the United States; intem- 
ally geography has divided the country into a number of 
distinct regions, widely separated and difficult to weld into 
a single political or economic framework. 


Canada occupies the northern half of the continent of 
North America, a total area of 3,694,863 square miles, or 27 
per cent, of the area of the British Commonwealth. Her 
boundaries, except in the remote north, are now settled. 
Eastward lie the Atlantic and the “coast of Labrador”, 
Newfoundland’s mainland territory, the limits of which were 
defined by the Privy Council decision of 1927. To the south 
is the United States boundary, 3,987 miles long, of which 
2,198 are on water and 1,789 on land. 1 To the west is the 
Pacific coast and the Alaskan boundary, the latter being 
some 1,500 miles of additional United States frontier. North¬ 
ward Canada disappears in a sector of ice, the radii of which 
she has decided shall be the meridians of 60° and 141° west 
longitude. No formal international recognition has yet been 
given to the northern limits but neither has there been any 
challenge to the Canadian claims. 2 

For all practical purposes, Canada has frontier contacts 
with the United States alone. The Labrador boundary, the 
solitary land frontier not separating Canada from United 
States territory, runs through an uninhabited waste. The 

iFor a full description of the boundary see Wilgus, William J., Railway Interrelations 
of the United States and Canada (Toronto, 1937), p. 4. 

2Norway, however, registered her general objection to the sector principle when ad¬ 
mitting Canada’s sovereignty over the Sverdrup Islands in 1930. See despatch in prefix 
to Statutes of Canada , 1931. 



island of Newfoundland, which occupies a strategic position 
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, is at the moment a British de¬ 
pendency, having given up its dominion status. Canadian 
intercourse with it is not extensive, though it furnishes essen¬ 
tial supplies of iron ore to the steel mills of Nova Scotia, and 
is an important link in the chain of imperial communications 
as a landing-stage for trans-Atlantic cables and air-lines. 
Halifax, the easternmost large Canadian port, is 2,500 miles 
from Liverpool; Vancouver, the westernmost, is 4,200 miles 
from Yokohama. 

The distance of Canada from Europe, however, has not 
meant an absence of world communications. The St. Law¬ 
rence to the east forms a national gateway through which 
travels a great part of Canada’s total world trade. Van¬ 
couver has become an increasingly important outlet for trade 
not only with the Far East but with Great Britain and 
Europe via the Panama Canal. The Hudson Bay route, 
though still but slightly used as an outlet for grain to Europe, 
serves to remind Canadians that their fortunes are linked to 
the high seas. Only two out of the nine Canadian provinces 
are without coast. 


Canada is a nation that in many respects has been built 
despite geography. The geographical obstacles she has had 
to overcome have been very serious. On the other hand it is 
often pointed out that the present Dominion is, in rough out¬ 
line, a natural response to the geographical relationship be¬ 
tween the interior continental plain, the Canadian Shield, 
and the vast waterways of the St. Lawrence River, the Great 
Lakes, the less known “great lakes” of the west and north 
and the connecting rivers. On this extraordinary system of 
water transport was based first the fur trade, next the eastern 
lumber trade, then the wheat trade. The oft-repeated state¬ 
ment that the “natural lines” of communication and trade 
for Canada run north and south and that the east-west 
structure is a costly piece of artificiality is true only in part. 
Most Canadian economists would say that the east-west 
communication has much in it that is “natural”. Compass 


courses for trade are often irrelevant: there are many de¬ 
terminants, minor and major, and of these it is sufficient to 
point out the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system as the chief. 
On it, despite geographical difficulties, has been forged the 
economic and political system of the country. 

_ The inhabited part of the Dominion falls into five main 
divisions. To the east are the maritime provinces of Nova 
Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. They are 
a country of forests, hills and streams, with agricultural land 
suitable only for small-scale operations. Minor industries, 
lumbering, mixed farming and fishing constitute the princi¬ 
pal economic interests of the population. The only large 
industrial undertakings are the coal mines and steel mills in 
Nova Scotia. The population is mostly British, and has a 
strong local patriotism. There are important French minori¬ 
ties, particularly in New Brunswick, where they constitute 
one-third of the population. These provinces are separated 
from the rest of Canada by ranges of mountains, and by the 
American boundary which cuts far north along New Bruns¬ 
wick to form a pronounced salient. 

The St. Lawrence and Lower Lakes region covers the 
southern part of the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Here 
is concentrated 60 per cent, of the population and 80 per cent, 
of the manufacturing activity of the Dominion. 1 Montreal 
and Toronto are the chief financial and industrial centres. 
In economic interests these two provinces are very similar, 
combining mixed agriculture with extensive operations in 
industry, water-power, forestry and mines, all within a com¬ 
paratively short distance of the St. Lawrence waterways 
system and the Great Lakes. But in racial and religious 
background they are quite distinct, Quebec being 80 per 
cent. French and Catholic, while Ontario is 75 per cent. 

iThe following table shows the regional distribution of the population of Canada, 
according to the census of 1931: 


Per cent, of 


Dominion Total 

Maritime Provinces. 











Ontario and Quebec. 

Prairie Provinces. 

British Columbia. 

Yukon and Northwest Territories. 



British and Protestant. In degree of development they also 
differ, industrial progress being much further advanced in 
Ontario, while Quebec has clung longer to her peasant agri¬ 

The third section is the great prairie plain, the northern 
extension of the interior continental plain, out of which have 
been created the three prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskat¬ 
chewan and Alberta. This area is separated from eastern 
Canada by some 800 miles of sparsely inhabited country 
north of Lake Superior. It is still impossible to motor from 
Ontario to the west without going through the United States. 
The soil and climate here make the large-scale production of 
wheat the principal activity, though other field crops are of 
importance. A variable rainfall, particularly in southern 
Saskatchewan and Alberta, and uncertain factors such as 
frost, hail and insect pests make for large variations in the 
annual production. Wheat, which is the principal cash crop, 
has ranged from a record high of 566,726,000 bushels in 1928 
to a low of 159,000,000 in 1937, with corresponding vari¬ 
ability of income. The population in this area is the most 
mixed of any in the Dominion, having been augmented for 
the greater part by immigration during the earlier years of 
the present century; only about 49 per cent, are British by 
racial origin. 1 

The prairies are bounded on the west by the Rocky 
Mountains. On the Pacific slopes of the Rockies lies the 
fourth of the geographical divisions of Canada, British Col¬ 
umbia. This westernmost section consists mostly of moun¬ 
tains, with considerable forest, fishery and mineral resources, 
but with little agricultural land save in the valleys. Forestry, 
mining, fishing and farming are the main activities. The 
racial composition of the population is mostly British, but 
there are important Oriental minorities which are denied the 
franchise and constitute unassimilated groups. 

To the north of the more inhabited portions of Quebec, 
Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan lies the great Cana¬ 
dian Shield, sometimes called the Pre-Cambrian Shield. 
This is a vast outcropping of crystalline rock which stretches 

lAs shown in the 1936 census, Canada Year Book , 1937. 



from Labrador to the Mackenzie River, covering an area of 
some 2 x /i million square miles, or 65 per cent, of the entire 
country. It is a great expanse of lakes, rivers, muskeg 
and forests, containing little arable land, but possessing, 
besides its forest resources of timber, pulp-wood and fur, 
large deposits of precious and base metals. Its uniform 
geological structure and natural resources provide a certain 
geographic and economic unity in northern Canada. 


The Canadian population has hitherto grouped itself in 
the first four of these main divisions for reasons which are 
largely physiographical. Nowhere does settlement extend 
northward to any great depth, so that the entire population 
has been strung out along the American border in a strip 
nearly 4,000 miles long. More than nine out of every ten 
Canadians live within 200 miles of the border, and more 
than half within 100 miles. 1 For many years it seemed as 
though this distribution of population would be permanent, 
and that Canadians would be unable to occupy more than 
the southern fringe of their vast domain. Two developments 
of recent years have to some degree caused a revision of this 
idea. The first is the opening up of the rich mineral deposits 
in the Canadian Shield. Great developments have occurred 
in these mining regions in the past ten years, and new towns 
have sprung into existence where formerly there was but 
empty wilderness. This has deepened the area of settlement, 
and caused a further shift in the economic balance away from 
agriculture. In a psychological sense it is tending to unify 
the country by giving a new outlet to the north for capital, 
ambition and talent; the old advice, “Go west, young man, 
go west”, has become, “Go north, young man, go north”. 
At the same time the Canadian Shield is unlikely to support 
a large permanent population. Hydro-electric works, the 
production of pulp and paper and the development of min¬ 
eral resources will provide for a small fixed population; 
but any larger movements will be nomadic. 

lMacKay, R. A. and Rogers, E. B., Canada Looks Abroad (Toronto and London, 
1938), p. 12. 


The other development which is having a similar effect on 
a smaller scale is the opening up of new areas of settlement 
in the Peace River district of Alberta and British Columbia, 
and in northern Saskatchewan. Here good soil extends far 
to the north, and temperature and rainfall are suitable for 
growth during the short summer season. The breeding of 
new types of wheat such as Marquis and Reward, which 
ripen early and so escape autumn frosts, has been one of the 
great achievements of the Department of Agriculture at 
Ottawa; it has made possible the continuous northward 
extension of agricultural settlement on the prairies. 

Scientific agriculture and new mining fields are making 
Canadians look northward. The aeroplane and the radio 
make contacts with civilization possible for remote settle¬ 
ments. Canada as a thin ribbon of population across a con¬ 
tinent is still a fact, but the opportunities for pioneering in 
the north are increasing and the awareness of their existence 
helps to develop and unify the national consciousness. 


The geographical divisions of Canada are responsible for 
many of the economic, political and social characteristics of 
the Dominion. The building of national unity on such a long 
and narrow base would be a task of great difficulty even if 
additional divisive influences such as race, religion and his¬ 
torical tradition were absent. The Maritime Provinces had 
a longer history as separate British colonies than they have 
yet had as provinces of the Dominion. Their sense of iden¬ 
tity, distinct from Canada, is still strong; their economic 
ties would naturally be more with their geographical neigh¬ 
bours, the New England states, than with central or western 
Canada. They do not feel they have received the full bene¬ 
fits of political union since Confederation, for the tariff wall 
has cut them off from their natural markets and forced them 
to become an outlying, almost remote, settlement of an 
economy concentrated to the west. Many of their sons and 
daughters have been forced to migrate south and west to find 
their livelihood: indeed, the Maritimes play the part of the 
Canadian Scotland, exporting talent which achieves a 





disproportionate share of important positions in Canadian 
(and American) political, educational and industrial life, but 
leaves behind a sense of stagnation and loss. 

Geography gives Quebec and Ontario similar economic 
opportunities and interests which offset to some extent their 
racial and religious differences. Both provinces are the 
centres of protectionist thought, for in both live the manu¬ 
facturers who benefit most from the tariff. The Prairie 
Provinces, predominantly suppliers of a single commodity 
which must be sold on a world market, are naturally inclined 
to free trade so as to be able to buy cheaply their agricultural 
machinery and domestic supplies; their dependence upon 
the eastern capital which controls railways and banks makes 
them lean to political radicalism and new experiments, 
particularly in times of depression. British Columbia, facing 
the Pacific, containing a considerable Oriental population, 
and separating the United States from her Alaskan territory, 
is most conscious of Canada’s position in the Pacific and of 
the serious problems that would arise should war occur in 
that area, even if Canada were neutral. 

Canada’s climate, a consequence of her geographical posi¬ 
tion, affects the life, character and economic development 
of the country very greatly. The climate is bracing and 
healthy, but the variations of temperature and the long 
winters impose additional costs on transportation and con¬ 
struction ; make for a short growing season and for problems 
of seasonal unemployment; and limit the agricultural pro¬ 
duce to the range of north temperate fruits, grains and 
vegetables. Industrial processes requiring tropical or semi- 
tropical produce must thus rely on imports. 

It was geography, as well as race, which made Canada a 
federal rather than a unitary state. No Dominion cabinet 
can be formed except on a federal basis, giving representa¬ 
tion to each of the main divisions of the country. The 
Canadian Senate is composed of 24 senators from each of the 
four divisions of the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and the 
western provinces—a method which blends geography and 
race. Royal commissions must be appointed, the civil ser¬ 
vices staffed, and political patronage expended, in accordance 


with sectional and racial divisions. The twenty per cent, 
of the population which is neither British nor French, how¬ 
ever, has little representation in the Dominion or provincial 
legislatures or administrative services. 

Geography has laid upon the Canadian economy the in¬ 
escapable burden of heavy transportation costs. The price 
the Dominion has had to pay to create an economic and 
political unity against great natural obstacles is to be seen 
in her 43,000 miles of railway, her canals, highways and 
telegraphs. Not all of this is chargeable against the effort to 
overcome geography: some of it, especially much of the 
railway mileage, is to be attributed to simple lack of intelli¬ 
gence in high places or in low, some of it to the recklessness 
of pioneer optimism and some to the corruption that always 
attends large-scale construction projects in a new country 
where the social controls are weak. However it has arisen, 
this overhead debt lies heavily upon the economy. 

Geography, finally, makes Canada a North American na¬ 
tion. This simple and obvious fact has hitherto been an 
unconscious rather than a conscious influence upon Canadian 
life and thought, so strong have been the sentimental ties 
binding Canadians to Europe, particularly to Great Britain, 
and so live has been the fear that to turn attention from the 
old world would mean absorption by the United States. 
Today those ties are less strong and the fear less alive. The 
waves of immigration have ceased, and the children of immi¬ 
grants have not the European memories of their parents. 
In 1911 a reciprocity treaty with the United States overthrew 
a government because the people believed it would mean 
annexation; in 1935 a new treaty, less extensive but of 
similar appearance, was negotiated with the approval of 
every political party in Canada. Canadians are beginning 
to talk of themselves as “North Americans”, which formerly 
they seldom did. 1 Many factors have hastened the accep- 

lSee, e.g., Canada, An American Nation by J. W. Dafoe (New York, 1935), pp. 5-6. 
An editorial of March 13, 1938, in Le Devoir, a leading French-Canadian daily in Mont¬ 
real, points out with approval the development of the North American viewpoint amongst 
English Canadians; “Un journal £t sympathies conservatrices, 4 tendences imp^rialistes, 
le Journal d’Ottawa, n’ecrivait-il pas ces jours-ci, au cours d’un article sur I’avenir du parti 
conservateur, une fois M. Bennett a sa retraite; %’h4ritage ideologique de ce continent 
nord-am6ricain difffcre du tout au tout de celui du continent europ6en?’ En d'autres termes, 
nous sommes un peuple d’Am^rique, nos probl£mes sont d’Am^rique, qu’on nous laisse la 
paix avec les problSmes particuliers de 1’Europe ; ces ont les siens, et nous avons les ndtres” 

Courtesy of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics 

Physiographic Divisions of Canada 



tance of this position, but the underlying influence has 
been geography. Moreover, in a world constantly on the 
verge of war, geographical isolation assumes an unwonted 



C ANADA on the average map appears as a large un¬ 
broken block of red, thus creating the impression that 
the country is both united and British. A closer in¬ 
spection of physiographical features has shown how divided 
are the several sections of the country. An examination of 
the racial elements in the population will reveal a similar 
lack of unity. 


Of the aboriginal races, there are about 6,000 Eskimos and 
123,000 Red Indians surviving. The two minorities are 
treated as wards of the Dominion, and do not possess citi¬ 
zens’ rights. 1 The first European settlers were the French, 
many of whom came from Normandy and Brittany, an¬ 
cestors of the French Canadians who now number approxim¬ 
ately 3,300,000 or 30 per cent, of the population. British set¬ 
tlers (excluding the traders in Hudson Bay who came about 
the same time as the main wave of French Canadians) arrived 
first in Acadia, the original Nova Scotia, which was ceded 
to Great Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and which 
received a considerable influx of New Englanders prior to 
the American Revolution. That struggle sent to Canada 
large numbers of United Empire Loyalists, whose influx 
created the provinces of New Brunswick and Ontario, and 
the pro-British sentiment of whose descendants today often 
proves keener than that of many a later British immigrant. 
The first census after Confederation, taken in 1871, showed a 
population of 3,486,000, distributed racially as follows: 2 

60.55 per cent. 
31.07 per cent. 
8.39 per cent. 




UJnless, in the case of the Indians, they fought in the world war. Other disfranchised 
minorities under Dominion or Provincial laws, or both, are Doukhobors, Chinese, Japanese, 
and Hindus. 

2This census covered only the four original provinces of Canada—Nova Scotia, New 
Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Canada Year Book , 1937, pp. 122-3. 



Then came the building of the C.P.R., the opening of the 
Canadian west, and the adoption of a policy of attracting 
immigrants indiscriminately. Canada, like the United States, 
became a melting-pot into which were poured many kinds of 
human material. The process did not stop until the world 
depression began. The population grew to 5.37 millions in 
1901 and 10.37 millions in 1931; today (1938) it is estimated 
at 11.2 millions. But now the racial proportions are altered; 
the British element has steadily declined since 1871, while 
the “Others” have increased. The process of change is 
shown by the following table: 

per cent. 

per cent. 

per cent. 

per cent. 

per cent. 

per cent. 


French. . . . 



















If the 1931 figures are broken down into the dominant 
racial groups, then we find that the French is the largest. 
The order is: 

Origin 1 

Number (1931) 


. 2,927,990 




. 1,346,350 


. 1,230,808 


. 473,544 


. 228,049 


. 225,113 


. 156,726 


. 148,962 


. 145,503 

Indian and Eskimo. 

. 128,890 


. 98,173 

lAs the figures are based on paternity there is actually more intermixture than they 
suggest. See Hurd, W. B., Racial Origins and Nativity of the Canadian People, Census 
monograph No. 4 (Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Ottawa, 1938) (to be included in Vol. 
XII of the Seventh Census of Canada, 1931). 



The population trend as indicated by the number of 
children under 1 year of age is as follows (1931): 


Under 1 year 

Per 1,000 





























It will be noticed how low is the British reproduction rate 
relative to that of other groups. 

The distribution of the racial groups within the country 
varies greatly. The British elements are strongest in the 
Maritimes, Ontario and British Columbia: of those sections 
they constitute approximately 70 per cent., 75 per cent, and 
70 per cent, respectively. Further, persons of British descent 
usually occupy the most influential positions in politics, 
religion and education, outside Quebec, and in finance and 
industry throughout the country. Their power to control 
the destinies of Canada is therefore very much greater than 
their numbers would indicate; also, their cultural influence 
on immigrants of other racial stocks is disproportionately 
strong. The French are concentrated largely in Quebec, of 
whose population they form 80 per cent.; but they are now 
spread far more generally throughout other provinces than 
was formerly the case, the principal settlements being in 
eastern and northern Ontario, New Brunswick, and the 
Prairie Provinces. Whereas in 1871 there were only 153,123 
or 14 per cent, of the French Canadians outside Quebec, in 
1931 there were 657,931 or 22 per cent. 1 This fact is a power¬ 
ful deterrent to the separatist movement that has recently 
been revived by certain groups in French Canada. Of the 

lSee Anderson, Violet (ed.), World Currents and Canada's Course (Toronto, 1937), p. 121. 
It is also estimated that there are at least 1,500,000 French Canadians living in New England, 
thus showing that the north-south pull for French-Canadian emigrants from Quebec has 
been stronger than the east-west pull. In 1930 there were in the United States 264,361 
French Canadians born in Canada. 



2,067,725 persons of non-British, non-French extraction 
nearly 60 per cent, were confined to the three Prairie Pro¬ 
vinces. The Oriental group, though small in number 
(Chinese 46,519; Japanese 23,342, 1931), are almost all on 
the Pacific coast and constitute a special minority since they 
are denied the franchise and are not treated on a plane of 
equality with other citizens. Finally, it is worth stressing 
the point that half the people of Canada today, if they look 
back to an ancestral “mother country , find it elsewhere 
than in the British Isles; the 51.86 per cent. British of 1931 
have become less than 50 per cent, by 1938. Moreover, of 
the persons classified as British an unspecified number are 
American settlers of British extraction, other than United 
Empire Loyalists, whose mother country is really the United 
States. In 1931 only 14 per cent, of the total population had 
been born in the British Isles. 1 


To the internal divisions in Canada resulting from geo¬ 
graphy and race must be added those of religion. The follow¬ 
ing table shows the number of Canadians in each of the 
principal religious groups, and the proportion each group 
bears to the total population of the country: 2 


Total Population 

Percentage of Total 
Population (1931) 

Roman Catholic. 



United Church of Canada.. 


















Greek Orthodox. 






l Canada Year Book, 1936, p. 118. 

2 Ibid., pp 116-7. A more complete table is to be found in MacKay and Rogers, op. cit., 
p. 64. 



If the Protestant sects are classed together, they make up 
54.9 per cent, of the total population, as against 41.3 per 
cent. Roman Catholic and 3.8 per cent, others. The Roman 
Catholics are 66.5 per cent. French Canadian, 8.9 per cent. 
Irish, 4.1 per cent. English, 3.6 per cent. Ukrainian and 3.5 
per cent. Scottish. 

Religion exerts a very large influence upon Canada’s 
domestic and external affairs, particularly in these days when 
the “conflict of ideologies” brings everyone face to face in 
politics with fundamental moral and ethical alternatives. 
The Catholic and the Protestant interpretations of domestic 
and international events often differ widely. Thus the 
French Roman Catholic element in Canada was sympathetic 
to Italy in the Abyssinian War and Catholic opinion gener¬ 
ally has supported Franco in Spain. Three delegates of the 
Spanish government were driven out of Montreal by or¬ 
ganized bands of students when they attempted to speak in 
November, 1936, but the delegate of the rebels was officially 
received by the mayor in February, 1938. The Catholic 
Church is naturally very fearful of the power and influence of 
Moscow, and is no friend of a democracy which tolerates 
freedom of speech for those whom it calls “communists”. 1 
The authoritarian character of the Catholic Church makes it 
more lenient to the doctrine of fascism than the Protestant 
churches would be, and it is teaching a form of “corporatism” 
in Quebec, based on Papal encyclicals, as a remedy for social 
and economic ills. Because 66 per cent, of the Catholics in 
Canada are French Canadian, the Church tends to be isola¬ 
tionist in foreign policy and is inclined to be distrustful of 
the League of Nations. 

These attitudes within Canadian Catholicism are fre¬ 
quently in sharp contrast to those adopted by the various 
Protestant Churches. The Protestant pulpits may vary in 
their emphasis on particular policies, and, in typical Pro¬ 
testant fashion, they speak with many voices, but their 
general influence in foreign affairs is against isolation and in 

Hn 1937, shortly after the Dominion parliament repealed the law making the Com¬ 
munist party illegal, the Quebec Legislature adopted the Padlock Act under which the 
Attorney-General can order the closing of houses of suspected. Communists without judicial 
authorization, and can seize and destroy, also without judicial warrant, any communistic 
literature which is being printed or circulated. 

U 1 


favour of active Canadian support of the League and the 
Commonwealth. In domestic matters they emphasize, more 
than do the Catholics, the value of state control and social 
legislation to remedy economic evils, and oppose any 
changes in parliamentary government that savour of dic¬ 
tatorship from the “right” as well as from the left . In 
some parts of Canada, as in the United States, an evangelical 
type of politico-religious revival can win much support, 
social credit was given to the people of Alberta in this man¬ 
ner through Mr. Aberhart’s “Prophetic Bible Institute”, 
and the British Israelite movement finds some support from 
certain elements in the population. 


Recent studies of the effects of immigration upon the 
growth of Canada’s population have led to some important, 
if tentative, conclusions. 1 While it would be dangerous to 
accept all the findings as final and complete they are suffi¬ 
ciently exact to render necessary a revision of the popular 
idea that every new immigrant means an increase of one in 
the size of the total population, or that Canada, because of 
her “vast resources” and “great open spaces”, can readily 
absorb a large number of new immigrants. 

Briefly, the facts appear to show that over the period 
1851-1931 the total immigration was about equalled by the 
amount of emigration, mostly to the United States, so that 
in fact the net result was largely a substitution of foreign- 
bom settlers (including British) for native-born Canadians. 
It has been demonstrated 2 that if there had been no emigra¬ 
tion during those years the Canadian population would be 
at least as large as, and probably larger than, it is today, even 
if there had been no immigration from abroad at all. The 
following table gives some idea of the way the process worked 
during the decade 1921-1931: 3 

1A convenient summary of the evidence, with full references to sources, will be found 
in the Canadian Memorandum No. 1, presented to the International Studies Conference 
of 1937 by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, on Canada and the Doctrine oj 
Peaceful Change, edited by H. F. Angus. (Mimeographed.) 

2See Angus (ed.), op. cit., p. 63. 

*Canada Year Book, 1936, p. 107. 



Population, Census 1921. 8,787,949 

Natural Increase, 1921-1931 (est.). 1,325,256 

Immigration, 1921-1931 1 . 1,509,136 

Total. 11,622,341 

Population, Census 1931. 10,376,786 

Emigration, 1921-1931 (est.). 1,245,555 

Net Immigration, 1921-1931. 263,581 

In that decade, for every five persons coming into the 
country, four went out. At the same time unemployment in 
Canada increased by some 270,000. 2 

It would be improper to conclude that over the long period 
immigration was the sole cause of the emigration. There 
are many attractions in the United States, such as higher 
wages, which invite Canadians to move south, and Cana¬ 
dians have been exempted from the quota restrictions applic¬ 
able since 1921 to other immigrants. Few immigrants settled 
in the Maritimes or Quebec, yet there was considerable 
emigration from these sections. It appears, however, that 
both migrations occurred together, and there is evidence to 
suggest that the relationship of cause and effect existed to 
some degree. 3 The waves of immigration are found to pre¬ 
cede, not to succeed, emigration: the emigrants went largely 
from occupations reinforced by immigrants; the immigrants, 
being in large part single adult males between 20 and 35 
years old, were better fitted for work at lower wage levels 
and <hence were more attractive to Canadian employers 
seeking low costs. 

This emigration of Canadians to the United States, it 
should be noted, is not all loss, from the Canadian point of 
view. The presence of so many people of Canadian antece¬ 
dents in the States contributes to the understanding between 
the two countries. A good many Canadian emigrants hold 
positions of influence in American business and in the pro¬ 
fessions. The number of Canadian-born persons living in 
the United States in 1930 was 1,280,000: of these 264,361 
were French Canadian. 

lincluding returning Canadians. 
2Angus (ed.), op. ctt., p. 62. 

8 Ibid., pp. 58-60. 




Emigration of Canadians to the United States was stopped 
partly by the depression, partly by the American legislation 
of 1930. The Canadian-born population must now stay in 
Canada and find employment at home. This it has to do in 
the face of a labour market depressed by the presence of 
large numbers of unemployed and drought victims. 

Immigration into Canada is now very restricted. Chinese 
immigration was ended by the Dominion Chinese Immigra¬ 
tion Act of 1923; between 1925 and 1936 only 7 Chinese 
were admitted. 2 Japanese immigration is governed by the 
“gentleman’s agreement” of 1907, as revised in 1928, under 
which the number of Japanese entering the country does not 
exceed 150 a year. 8 The total number admitted between 
1929 and 1936 was 813. 4 Other immigration is governed by 
the new regulations laid down in the Order-in-Council. of 
March 21, 1931, which limits immigration to the following 
four classes: 5 

1. A British subject entering Canada directly or indirectly from 
Great Britain or Northern Ireland, the Irish Free State, Newfound¬ 
land, the United States of America, New Zealand, Australia, or the 
Union of South Africa, who has sufficient means to maintain himself 
until employment is secured; provided that the only persons admiss¬ 
ible under the authority of this clause are British subjects by reason 
of birth or naturalization in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, the 
Irish Free State, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Australia, or the Union 
of South Africa. 

2. A United States citizen entering Canada from the United States 
who has sufficient means to maintain himself until employment is 

3. The wife or unmarried child under 16 years of age of any person 
legally admitted to and resident in Canada who is in a position to 
receive and care for his dependents. 

4. An agriculturist having sufficient means to farm in Canada. 

lThe numbers on direct relief in recent years, including dependents, b» v e been: Novem¬ 
ber 1932, 1,113,849; November, 1934, 1,063,592; November, 1936, 1,100,025; December, 
1937, 951,000. 

2Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 205. 

3 Canadian Annual Review, 1927-28, p. 145. 

4 Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 205. 

6P.C. 695, March 21, 1931. 



The annual immigration since this order took effect has been 
very small, averaging only about 12,000 annually for the 
past five years. 1 In spite of the preference for British immi¬ 
grants revealed in the new regulations, nearly 80 per cent, 
of the new arrivals in Canada in the years 1931-1936 were 
from places outside the British Isles. 

A noticeable movement of the population within the 
country in recent years has been the drift from country to 
town. Urbanization is not a purely Canadian phenomenon, 
but its development in the Dominion has been marked. Be¬ 
tween 1891 and 1931 the proportion of the population living 
in rural centres decreased from 68.20 to 46.30 per cent. 2 In 
1931, 41.74 per cent, of the people lived in cities or towns of 
5,000 population and over. 3 The drift in the decade 1921- 
1931 was most noticeable in the provinces of Quebec and 
Ontario, and was several times greater in Quebec than in any 
other province—a fact which in part explains why the birth¬ 
rate is declining rapidly in French Canada as well as in the 
Dominion as a whole. In that decade a net rural-urban 
movement occurred in Canada amounting to about 437,000, 
all ages. 4 

Moreover, even by 1931 it was apparent that the internal 
flow of population, which early in the century had been from 
east to west, had been reversed. The three Prairie Provinces 
by 1931 had not only ceased to absorb surplus population 
from the east, but were exporting part of their own surplus 
to the east. This movement has no doubt continued since 
1931 owing to the various causes preventing a return of pros¬ 
perous conditions to western agriculture. The prairies are 
thus proving unable to hold their own people under present 
conditions. 8 

The internal drift of the immigrant population shows the 

i Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 194. 

2Hurd, W. B., “The Decline in the Canadian Birth Rate”, Canadian Journal of Eco¬ 
nomics and Political Science, February, 1937, p. 43. 

3 Canada Year Book, 1936, p. 125. 

4See Hurd, W. B. and Cameron, Jean C., “Population Movements in Canada, 1921- 
1931: Some Further Considerations”, Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 
May, 1935, p. 226, note 3; Hurd, “The Decline in the Canadian Birth Rate”, {op. cit.)g 

5See Hurd, “Population Movements in Canada, 1921-1931”, in Proceedings of Canadian 
Political Science Association, 1934, Vol. VI, p. 224. In the five-year period, 1931-36, the 
population of the three Prairie Provinces increased by only 2.6 per cent. 


same tendency to concentrate in cities, and cities in the east. 
“Despite continuous efforts on the part of the authorities to 
stimulate rural rather than urban settlement, the proportion 
of the current net immigration domiciled in towns and cities 
at the close of the decade (1921-1931) was three times greater 
than that found in the country. Whereas in 1921, only 56 
per cent, of the foreign-born population in Canada was resi¬ 
dent in urban centres, over 75 per cent, of the net foreign 
immigration during the last ten years found its way to towns 
and cities.” 1 The cities and towns of Ontario and Quebec 
combined accounted for nearly 63 per cent, of the net in¬ 
crease in urban foreign-born over the ten-year period. Even 
rural immigrants did not prefer the prairies; Ontario alone 
absorbed 52 per cent, of the net rural immigration from 
abroad during the decade, while the four western provinces 
only accounted for 43 per cent. 2 

Other interesting features of Canadian population move¬ 
ments might be emphasized, but enough has been said to 
indicate how unreliable are many of the popular ideas about 
the “great open spaces” in Canada and their capacity to 
absorb large numbers of immigrants. Canada, in the present 
condition of her domestic and foreign markets, appears 
already overcrowded. If agriculture merely holds its own 
and other rural employment is not forthcoming, a rural 
surplus of 800,000 is quite possible by 1941. 3 To absorb the 
present natural increase in urban Canada, the estimated 
rural-urban migration, and the number of unemployed in 
1931, would require a 45 to 50 per cent, increase in urban 
employment over the next decade. 4 There is little likelihood 
of this occurring. Canada would be more than able to supply 
her own population requirements for five or ten years to 
come if the rate of economic expansion obtaining during the 
period 1911-1931 were restored, and even if the boom con¬ 
ditions of 1901-1911 were repeated she would not need to 
draw more than a few thousand a year from abroad to reach 
the limit of her absorptive capacity. 6 

lHurd and Cameron, op. cit., pp. 237-8. 

2 Ibid., pp. 233, 235. 

3Hurd, “Population Movements in Canada, 1921-1931”, (op. cit.), p. 231. 

4Hurd and Cameron, op. cit., p. 232. 

6 Angus (ed.), op. cit., p. 70. 

The foregoing estimates, based upon the most authorita¬ 
tive research that has been done in this field, are not gener¬ 
ally known in Canada and are not accepted by all who do 
know of them. Some authorities contend that many more 
settlers can be supported in the Peace River district of 
Alberta, and that on the prairies themselves there may de¬ 
velop a type of self-contained peasant farm through a more 
scientific use of soils. Consequently the hope of revived im¬ 
migration is one entertained by a number of individuals and 
institutions (such as transportation companies) which be¬ 
lieve increased immigration will be a means of increasing the 
population, reducing the per capita debt burden and increas¬ 
ing the internal consuming power. The chief opposition 
comes from the French Canadians, who fear additions to the 
British majority, and labour organizations which take the 
view that the present immigration restrictions should be 
maintained 4 'until the present unemployment and agri¬ 
cultural depression has disappeared”. 1 


Assimilation is not a term easy to define nor a condition 
easy to measure. The French Canadian would use it differ¬ 
ently from the English Canadian. If it means "to make 
Canadian”, in the sense that the settler comes to accept 
Canada as the country of his primary allegiance and to feel 
at home there, then it occurs in nearly every instance. In this 
sense immigrants from the British Isles need to be "assimi¬ 
lated”, for they do not have a Canadian viewpoint when 
they arrive. Acceptance of the English language and Cana¬ 
dian customs goes on steadily amongst most foreign-born 
immigrants. The new settlers seldom join the French- 
Canadian group. Perhaps the process of assimilation is best 
described by saying that everyone in Canada, except the 
French Canadian, sooner or later speaks some variant of the 
North American language and adopts North American 
habits, while keeping, in many instances, the language and 
culture of his forbears. 

iSee Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, “Representations to the Dominion Govern¬ 
ment, January 1938”, Canada Labour Gazette , 1938, p. 144. 



The assimilation of immigrants, in the form of intermar¬ 
riage and a mixing of stocks, is slow. The ‘ melting-pot is 
not producing a racial alloy. Racial diversity is especially 
noticeable when a foreign group settles in a community, 
forms a “colony”, and preserves its own language and cus- 
toms, as do the Ukrainians, the Doukhobors, the Orientals, 
and some other peoples. Moreover, there is no national 
education system to unify the children s outlook rapidly. 
Each province has a separate educational programme, 
though there is some co-operation between provincial edu¬ 
cational authorities, particularly in the western provinces. 
Separate schools for Catholics and Protestants exist by law 
in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and in prac¬ 
tice education generally is divided on religious lines. The 
census of 1931 showed that the school system in Canada 
provided all but 7 per cent, of the children between the ages 
of 7 and 14 with schooling, but 34 per cent, of those between 
the ages 5-19 were not at school. 1 Of all children in Canada, 
only two-thirds go as far as the final year of elementary 
schools, one-fifth or more reach the final or matriculation 
year, one-tenth or more continue to a professional school or 
university, and about three per cent, obtain a university 
degree. 2 Besides this inadequacy of education, the fact that 
all newspapers are regional, and the almost total absence of 
popular periodicals which are read from coast to coast, tend 
to keep public opinion sectional, though the control of radio 
broadcasting is assisting in the development of a more 
national outlook. 3 

Assimilation in Canada thus has not meant cultural or 
linguistic uniformity, and permits of wide variations of be¬ 
haviour and belief. The two major races, French and Eng¬ 
lish, have approached each other remarkably little during 

l Canada Year Book , 1936, p. 133; Census of Canada, 1931, Vol. IV, pp. 1354-5. 

2Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Cost of Education Bulletin No. 1, 1934. The figures 
do not include Quebec and British Columbia. 

3To connect the 53 stations making up a national network necessary to broadcast a 
single programme throughout Canada, takes over 8,000 miles of transmission lines (.as 
opposed to less than 1,000 miles in Great Britain) and even then it only reaches 10 per 
cent of the land area of the provinces of Canada and not more than 75 per cent, ot the 
total population. The further facts that 30 per cent, of the people desire to hear broadcasts 
in their mother tongue, French; that Canada stretches through five time zones; and that 
all broadcasting is done in competition with American stations spending 50 times as much 
money, using 30 times as much power, covering the entire United States and at night more 
of Canada than the Canadian stations, illustrate the difficulties which have to be overcome 
in attempting to use the radio as an instrument for fostering national unity. 



their long and close association. In the words of Andre 
Siegfried, 1 they have a “modus vivendi without cordiality”. 
This observation is not altogether true, for there are groups 
in the upper levels of professional and business life who know 
and respect each other; but it describes well enough the 
relations of the mass of each population, between whom is 
an almost impenetrable wall built of religion, race, language, 
education, history, geography and simple ignorance of one 
another’s point of view. In times of political and economic 
calm the spirit of mutual non-interference permits each 
group to pursue its separate path with little disturbance, 
but every crisis reveals how wide is the gulf between them. 


There are two kinds of estimates of Canada’s future popu¬ 
lation—those made by speakers on public platforms, which 
receive wide publicity, and those made by academic students 
of the problem, which get buried in learned periodicals. The 
former predict a population by the year 2000 A.D. of any¬ 
where from 50 to 200 million; the latter seem to agree that 
unless present trends are altered in a manner that is im¬ 
possible to predict, the population will not be above 18 
million by the end of this century, with a limiting population 
found ultimately somewhere between 20 and 35 million. 2 

Factors pointing to the lower estimates are the decline in 
the Canadian birth-rate, which, due to increasing urbaniza¬ 
tion and other factors, dropped 14.4 per cent, in the decade 
1921-1931, 3 and has declined 23.3 per cent, since 1881; new 
statistics indicating that the extent of unoccupied land suit¬ 
able for agricultural settlement in the Dominion is much less 
than was at first estimated; 4 a better understanding of the 

ISiegfried, Andr£, Canada (London, 1937), p. 255. 

2See Angus (ed.), op. cit.. Chap. II, p. 41. All the authorities are there collected. The 
following are the most important; MacLean, M. C., andHurd, W. B.,‘‘Projection of Canada’s 
Population on the Basis of Current Birth and Death Rates, 1931-1971”, Canadian Paper 
for Yosemite Conference, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1936; Hurd, W. B., "The De¬ 
cline of the Canadian Birth Rate”, Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 
February, 1937; MacKay and Rogers, op. cit., pp. 55 ff. 

3"Of this ten year decrease, slightly under 2.4 points or 16.7 per cent, seems to have 
been attributable to less favourable age distribution generally; slightly under 7.3 points or 
50.7 per cent, to less favourable conjugal condition, and only something over 4.7 points or 
32.6 per cent, to other causes including increased illegitimacy, birth control, abortion, 
infant mortality and so on.” Hurd, W. B., “The Decline in the Canadian Birth Rate”, 
(op. cit.), p. 57. 

4See below, p. 45. 



effects of immigration; and general considerations such as 
the world trend toward economic nationalism, which sug¬ 
gests that the expansion of Canadian foreign trade, and 
hence Canada’s capacity to support new industries, is not 
likely to proceed as rapidly in the future as it has done in the 
past. It is always possible that new factors will enter in to 
upset these estimates, but in attempting to guess at future 
developments it would seem wiser to adopt the sober rather 
than the enthusiastic view. The rate of natural increase of 
population has declined from 17.8 per thousand population 
in 1921 to 10.6 in 1936. 1 

One interesting conclusion of these forecasts is that by 
1971 the French-Canadian element in the population is likely 
to outnumber that of British descent. It is dangerous, how¬ 
ever, to argue too much from this prediction. The French 
Canadians will still be concentrated very largely in a single 
province, and many of the non-British, non-French races in 
the country will by then be assimilated to those of British 
descent in attitudes and outlook, thus increasing the homo¬ 
geneity of the non-French group. Moreover, the attitudes of 
the two races upon national questions may well grow more 
alike with the passage of time. Nevertheless, a progressive 
extension of the French influence in Canada is to be expected. 

1 Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 189, 




S INCE the earliest days of settlement in New France 
Canada has been a country depending largely upon 
foreign trade. Great wealth lay in her natural resources, 
but since population and markets were far away economic 
policy was concerned with extracting the wealth and export¬ 
ing it to the markets. Despite the growth in manufacturing 
industries during the past fifty years, that description re¬ 
mains basically true of the present economy. Canada is 
built on the assumption that other people can and will buy 
her staple products. 

Taken in historical order, the chief Canadian exports have 
been fish, in the early days of French settlement; furs, for 
the following two centuries; lumber, in the early and mid¬ 
nineteenth century; followed by wheat, with the opening of 
the west. Then industrial activity began to add its quota of 
products for export, such as flour, planks and boards, wood 
pulp and paper, and later automobiles. Mining has steadily 
increased its importance in the economy since the twentieth 
century began. The Pre-Cambrian Shield has supplied three 
of the principal sources of wealth, namely furs, forests, and 
minerals, and it also supplies the hydro-electric power which 
makes production possible in areas remote from other sources 
of energy. One measure of the success of this policy of staple 
production for export is the fact that Canada had, in 1935, 
the fifth largest export trade of any country in the world, 
and ranked sixth in total value of world trade. 1 

A picture of the principal divisions of production in Canada 
is given by the following table for the year 1935. The per¬ 
centages are based on the net value of production in each 
division. 2 

lLeague of Nations figures, cited Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 501. 

2Canada, Department of Trade and Commerce, Survey of Production in Canada, 1935 




Per cent, of Total 

Division of Industry Production for 1935 

Manufactures. 53.96 

Agriculture. 26.01 

Mining. 9.96 

Forestry. 9.50 

Electric Power. 5 -22 

Fisheries. 1-44 

Construction, Custom and Repair. 7.83 

It will be noticed how far manufacturing is ahead of agri¬ 
culture in terms of value of production. The figures for 
manufactures include some items also included under other 
heads (such as dairy factories, sawmills, etc.) but even when 
all duplication is removed manufactures count for about 40 
per cent, of the total. The importance of manufacturing is 
reflected in the distribution of the population as between 
town and country; in 1931, 53.7 per cent, lived in urban, 

46.3 per cent, in rural communities. In 1901 the proportions 
were the other way, 62.5 per cent, living in rural, and only 

37.3 per cent, in urban communities. The change is another 
measure of Canada’s growing industrialization. It is making 
the large metropolitan centres like Montreal, Toronto, Win¬ 
nipeg and Vancouver of increasing importance as govern¬ 
mental and administrative units. 

The net value of all goods produced in Canada in 1935 was 
estimated at $2,394,720,688, and total exports amounted to 
$756,625,925; thus 31.6 per cent, of the total production was 
exported. 1 This figure is emphatic proof of Canada’s de¬ 
pendence on world markets. In many of the basic industries 
the home consumption is a small fraction of production. 
Moreover, when the export figures are analysed more closely 
they show that a comparatively few commodities constitute 
the great bulk of the exports; in 1937, for instance, the five 
staples—wheat and flour, pulp and paper, lumber, precious 
and base metals, and fish—accounted for two-thirds of the 
total. The extraction of a few staple products from the 
natural resources, and their shipment abroad, are, as has been 

lFigures from Survey of Production, 1935, and Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 545. 




Courtesy of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics 


said, dominant characteristics of the Canadian economy 

today. . , 

If the figures for total net production are distributed 

amongst economic regions in Canada, the. immense pre¬ 
ponderance of the two central provinces is evident. Ontario 
accounted in 1935 for 43.7 per cent, and Quebec 25.4 per 
cent, of the total, or 69.1 per cent, between them. The three 
prairie provinces produced only 16.5 per cent., British 
Columbia 7.8 per cent., and the Maritimes together only 
6.6 per cent. The importance and wealth of Ontario and 
Quebec, coupled with the nationalist sentiment in Quebec, 
tend to make these two provinces strong defenders of “pro¬ 
vincial rights”, while the other sections of the country, with 
fewer sources of revenue and more need of special attention, 
are apt to favour a reasonable assumption by the Dominion 
of essential social services. 

Partly, no doubt, because of this dependence on foreign 
trade and because of the nature of her staple products, 
Canada is liable to a highly fluctuating national income. 
The demand for many of the staples is inelastic, and most of 
them are produced in other parts of the world. Wheat pro¬ 
duction is subject to the vagaries of nature at home and to 
rapid price changes in the world market. The depression of 
1929, when the national income was cut 50 per cent, in four 
years, 1 revealed this weakness in the structure of the economy. 
Foreign trade dropped 65 per cent, in the same period. And 
because of the tariff and the regional grouping of many of the 
major economic activities (manufactures in Quebec and On¬ 
tario, wheat on the prairies, etc.) the changes in national 
income are very unevenly distributed throughout the eco¬ 
nomy, and set up within Canada political movements and 
claims for special treatment in depressed areas. 

While historic economic tradition and the facts of geo¬ 
graphy have combined to make Canada so dependent on the 
direct exploitation of her natural resources and raw ma¬ 
terials, it is nevertheless true that diversified manufacturing 
is steadily increasing in the country, and the percentage of 
manufactured exports to total exports is rising. No less than 

Unnis, H. A. and Plumptre, A. F. W. (eds.), The Canadian Economy and Its Problems, 
(Toronto 1934), p. 181. The figures are for dollar values. 


55 different kinds of commodities were exported in 1936 to 
a value of $2,000,000 or over. 1 Whereas in the early days of 
Canada’s development the imports were made up chiefly of 
manufactured products and the exports of raw and semi¬ 
manufactured products, since the opening of the century 
this has been reversed. A considerable percentage of im¬ 
ports now consists of raw and semi-manufactured products 
for use in Canadian manufacturing industries, and the ex¬ 
ports consist predominantly of products which have under¬ 
gone some process of manufacture. In 1937, of the value of 
total imports 29 per cent, were raw materials, 9.8 per cent, 
partly and 61.2 per cent, fully manufactured; of total 
exports the raw materials were 35.9 per cent., partly manu¬ 
factured goods 27.9 per cent., and fully manufactured goods 
36.2 per cent. 2 The leading manufactures in Canada are, as 
might be expected, for the processing of raw materials. As 
the internal market expands so does the range of goods which 
may be profitably manufactured, and there are a number of 
industries in Canada serving the domestic and even foreign 
markets, using imported raw materials such as rubber, cotton 
and sugar. Canadian manufactures, however, are not being 
developed with a view to making Canada self-sufficient; 
their growth is entirely a matter of unplanned expansion 
determined by considerations of profitable investment. 

Contemporaneously with the growth of manufacturing, an 
increased trend to monopolistic and semi-monopolistic con¬ 
trol within the Canadian economy has taken place. In most 
of the large-scale industries, two, three, four or six corpora¬ 
tions control from 75 to 95 per cent, of the output. 3 The 

l Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 518. 

2 Condensed Preliminary Report on the Trade of Canada, 1936-37, p. 33. See also Canada 
Year Book, 1937, p. 519. The following table {ibid, p. 407) shows the rate of growth in 
industrial establishments; 




and Wages 

Net Value 
of Products 


























The technological improvement in manufacturing is evidenced by the small increase 
of employees as compared with the increase in the capital and net value of products. The 
number of establishments increased from 14,650 in 1900 to 25,491 in 1935. 

3Innis and Plumptre (eds.), op. cit., p. 182. 



growth of the large corporation has proceeded more rapidly 
than the growth of business m general. In 1932 the 100 
largest non-financial corporations had 82 per cent, of the 
assets of all Canadian companies publishing balance sheets, 
including railways. 1 This concentration of economic power 
in a few corporations has been accompanied by a concentra¬ 
tion of control within the corporations themselves; the wide 
distribution of share ownership, the use of such devices as 
the holding company and non-voting stock, have tended o 
vest the real direction of corporate affairs in the hands ot 
small managerial groups. 

The trend toward monopoly is a factor of great importance 
in contemporary Canada. It explains much that occurs in 
the political and economic life of the Dominion. The power¬ 
ful financial and industrial groups inevitably exert a continu¬ 
ous influence upon governmental policy. Indirectly, by the 
opposition their power arouses amongst the people, they 
have given rise to new political alignments. Monopoly has 
brought class conflict into the political arena. All the mino¬ 
rity parties that have either arisen or improved their position 
since the depression—the socialist farmer-labour movement 
known as the C.C.F., 2 the Social Credit Party, Mr. Stevens s 
Reconstruction Party of 1935, and the Communists 3 —have 
derived their principal strength from the fact that they 
organized the small man and the underdog against exploita¬ 
tion by the “trusts” and “big business”. The same economic 
conflict in part accounts for French-Canadian nationalism, 
for the French Canadians feel that they are mere “hewers of 
wood and drawers of water” in their own country, and resent 
the fact that they are scarcely represented in the inner circles 
of the large corporations. 4 Monopoly also brings the state 
into economic life in an endeavour to protect the public 

interest. . , , . 

Most of the large Canadian firms are organized to do busi- 

IRepori of the Royal Commission on Price Spreads, 1935, p. 21. A detailed analysis of the 
trend to monopoly is given in League for Social Reconstruct,on .SocuU 
(Toronto, 1935), Chap. Ill; see also Taylor, K. W., in Anderson, Violet (ed.), 
Currents and Canada's Course, p. 99. ^ 

2The abbreviation for “Co-operative Commonwealth Federation”. 

3The combined vote of these parties was approximately 25 per cent, of the total vote 
at the 1935 general elections. See below, p. 66, n. 3. 

4See Barbeau, Victor, La Mesure de Notre Taille (Montreal, 1936). 


ness throughout the Dominion; they therefore provide 
unified structures reaching across provincial boundaries and 
tending to break down sectional and provincial barriers. The 
increasing accumulation of capital in these few hands is also 
responsible for the increasing investment of Canadian capital 
in foreign countries; the surplus funds made available by 
operations on a large scale seek the most profitable outlets, 
and if conditions look more promising elsewhere the money 
will be exported. Thus Canadians own large utilities in 
places as remote as Mexico and Brazil and have mining in¬ 
terests as far away as Rhodesia. 

Besides its dependence on the export of staple products 
and its trend to monopoly, the Canadian economy today is 
noteworthy for its internal rigidities. The transportation 
costs in a country with Canada’s geography and climate are 
inevitably high; large amounts of capital have been invested 
in permanent works in railways, roads, canals, harbours and 
terminals, and many of these are in full use for only a part of 
the year. 1 The very size of many corporations makes for high 
overhead costs and rigid organization. The tariff enables the 
prices of manufactured goods to be maintained at times when 
the prices for Canadian exports of wheat and raw materials 
are falling, thus causing slow adjustments and great inequi¬ 
ties in the incidence, as between regions and classes, of the 
burdens of depression. Labour is rendered largely immobile 
by racial and geographical obstacles, as well as by trades 
union organization. Governmental, corporate and private 
debts are high, 2 and the costs of government (of ten govern¬ 
ments, in fact) are heavy. 


Canada is a land of great distances and widely separated 
economic areas. To make her development possible, she 
inevitably had to acquire a large and costly transportation 
equipment. Actually she provided herself with far more than 

iCanadian transportation costs, it may be pointed out, are not all borne by producers 
and shippers. The average of Canadian rates is the lowest per ton mile in the world, the 
difference between high costs and low rates being made up by the tax-payer. 

2See table of Dominion, provincial and municipal debts in Innis and Plumptre (eds.), 
op. cit., pp. 62-4; D. C. MacGregor, “The Problem of Public Debt in Canada , Canadian 
Journal of Economics and Political Science, 1936, p. 167. 



she needed. No less than three separate transcontinental 
railway systems were built — the Canadian Pacific Railway, 
completed in 1885, the Canadian Northern, built in the de¬ 
cade and a half just before the world war, and the Grand 
Trunk Pacific (with the government-built National Trans¬ 
continental), completed 1904-15. The Canadian Northern, 
the Grand Trunk and its subsidiary the Grand Trunk Pacific 
were taken over by the government between 1917 and 1921 
and were merged with the Canadian Government Railways, 
being ultimately consolidated in 1923 under the descriptive 
title Canadian National Railways. The taking over was to 
prevent the bankruptcy which faced the private owners. 
One railway runs north to Churchill on Hudson Bay, provid¬ 
ing a short, almost unused, route to Europe from the prairies 
during the brief season of navigation. 1 The main C.P.R. line 
to the Maritime Provinces runs through American territory 
in Maine, and both the C.P.R. and the C.N.R. are members 
of the Association of American Railroads. In freight and 
passenger rates, in equipment and in practice they are closely 
tied to United States lines. Canadian freight rates are set by 
the Board of Railway Commissioners on a basis determined 
by various factors such as cost, water competition, a desire 
to assist remote areas, and political considerations; five 
separate rate divisions exist, corresponding in some degree 
to the economic regions of the country. 2 

The manner of building of these lines, the extent of govern¬ 
mental grants and guarantees, the political consequences of 
the scramble for charters and privileges, constitute in the 
history of the Dominion a special chapter in which national 
vision blends with political corruption, the glamour of en¬ 
gineering achievement with the tragedy of waste and un¬ 
necessary duplication. Canada pays heavily today for the 
peculiar character of her rail system. Without a railway 
backbone, however, the Canadian body economic would 
never survive; these lines of steel enable prairie wheat to 
reach the Great Lakes or the Pacific, and the forest and 
mineral products of the Pre-Cambrian Shield to be brought 

lEight sea-going vessels cleared in 1936. 
2Innis and Plumptre (eds.), op. cit., pp. 71 ff. 


within reach of markets. Railways are a primary factor in 
the unity of east and west as well as a major link in the chain 
of intra-Commonwealth communications. 

In 1934 there were 42,916 miles of steam railways in 
Canada. It has been estimated that the debt incurred in 
respect of railways, including grants made to the C.P.R., ac¬ 
counts for more than half of the public debt of the Dominion. 1 
In addition, some $300,000,000 have been spent on the canal 
systems, mainly in the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes area. The 
proposed St. Lawrence Waterways Treaty has not yet be¬ 
come effective owing to the rejection by the American Senate 
and the opposition of the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, 
and also to the uncertain distribution of legislative jurisdic¬ 
tion as between the Dominion and the provinces. Besides 
the Dominion canal systems there is the Panama Canal, 
which, by providing a direct connection between the east and 
west coast, open all year, has become an important factor in 
Canadian transportation development. Wheat from Alberta 
tends to move via Panama to Europe, and the competition 
of freight rates on this route exerts a powerful influence upon 
transcontinental railway rates in the Dominion. 2 The St. 
Lawrence route controls freight rates from Chicago to the 
Atlantic seaboard. 

Highway construction in the Dominion is another part of 
the transportation problem. When the constitution of 
Canada was drafted railways were the predominant mode of 
commercial land transport, and power to control these was 
given to the Dominion. Highways were of local importance 
only, and fell under provincial or municipal management. 
Today the provinces, sometimes helped by the Dominion, 
have spent large sums on highway development, and the 
trucking services have become serious competitors of rail¬ 
ways without having been brought under any co-ordinating 
authority. In 1937 a provincial Royal Commission was ap¬ 
pointed by Ontario to investigate the problem. 

Civil aviation is the latest mode of transportation to be 
developed, and is making steady progress. The first trans- 

iMacKay and Rogers, Canada Looks Abroad , pp. 29-30. 

2For a detailed discussion see Innis and Plumptre (eds.), op. cit., Appendix V, by H. A. 



Canada service opened in 1938. In 1937 began the test 
flights of Imperial Airways linking Canada with Great 
Britain by air. Aviation is proving most useful in opening 
and servicing the remote mining areas of the Canadian Shield; 
prospecting is aided, and machinery and supplies are carried 
into otherwise inaccessible regions. 1 The trial flights of the 
Soviet fliers over the pole in 1937 reminded Canadians that 
they are on the direct air route between Asia and North 

Despite her dependence on foreign trade and her large 
system of inland waterways, Canada has not developed her 
own shipping fleet to any great extent. The net tonnage of 
all vessels registered in Canada at December 31, 1934, was 
1,389,343. 2 Some 700,000 tons of this are in lake vessels, 3 and 
most of the remainder in coastal shipping. Few Canadian 
ships ply the high seas; the Canadian Pacific Steamships ves¬ 
sels, for instance, are registered in England and are mostly 
staffed by non-Canadians. The goods that leave Canadian 
shores in such abundance have in many cases already been 
sold to foreign purchasers, and are mostly loaded in non- 
Canadian ships. This fact does not make the trade any less 
important to Canada, but it is relevant to any discussion of 
Canada’s providing naval protection for her foreign trade. 
The tonnage of freight entered outwards for the sea from 
Canadian ports for the fiscal year ending March, 1937, was 
about 16,000,000 tons, of which 8,000,000 tons were carried 
in British ships, 6,000,000 in foreign ships and 2,000,000 in 
Canadian vessels. 


The development of Canadian resources and the increasing 
industrialization of the country have required large amounts 
of capital. It was natural for Canada to borrow that capital 
from the countries with which she had the closest connections 
—Great Britain and the United States. At first Great 

lln 1936 more express and freight was carried by air in Canada than in any other 
country .—Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 709. 

2 Ibid., p. 677. 

iGreen's Register of Lake Tonnage. Lloyds’ list shows approximately 400,000 on the 
lakes and 840,000 coastal, but many vessels of the latter category are lakers which do a 
small coastal trade. 


Britain supplied the bulk of the funds, but the outbreak of 
the world war in 1914 blocked that source and thenceforth 
Canada was compelled to look chiefly to the United States, 
and to herself. In 1913 the total British capital invested in 
Canada was some 2,570 millions of dollars, while American 
capital was only 780 millions; by 1937 British investments 
had risen to 2,727 but the American totalled 3,996. In the 
same period the investments of all other countries dropped 
from 180 to 131 millions. 

The following table shows the foreign investments classi¬ 
fied into main types, as at December 31, 1937 1 (in millions 
of dollars). 








Government Securities.... 
Public Utilities: 

























Merchandising and Service 






Finance and Mortgage 



















There were some 1,200 companies in Canada in 1934 con¬ 
trolled by, or definitely affiliated with, American firms,which 
manufacture for the Canadian market and for export mark¬ 
ets made available either by the imperial preference or by 
arrangement with the parent company. In many cases 
foreign markets are assigned to branch plants by the parent 
companies in an attempt to reduce branch plant unit costs by 
increasing output. 2 Almost a fourth of the manufacturing in 

iSee Bulletin of Dominion Bureau of Statistics, January 27, 1938. Estimated Balance 
of International Payments for Canada , 1987 (Preliminary Statement). 

2See Marshall, H., Southard, F. A., and Taylor, K. W., Canadian-American Industry 
(New Haven and Toronto, 1936), pp. 19, 242. 


Canada is done by American-controlled or affiliated com- 

P While the presence of this large amount of foreign capital 
influences Canadian policy in many ways, it must be viewed 
in relation to the total amount of capital in the country, t 
was estimated that in 1934 this sum was in the neighbour¬ 
hood of 18,000 millions, and that of this amount 62 y 2 per 
cent, was owned in Canada, 22 per cent, in the United States 
and 15 per cent, in Great Britain. 1 Moreover, Canada has 
for many years been an exporter as well as an importer ot 
capital, and in 1937 was estimated to have no less than 1,694 
millions invested abroad—a sum equal to about 25 per cent, 
of the foreign investments in Canada. It is interesting to 
note that 1,017 millions of this were in the United States, 
624 in other countries and only 53 in Great Britain. Canada s 
net foreign indebtedness is thus 5,144 millions of dollars. 2 
Owing to favourable conditions Canada was amortizing her 
foreign debt at the rate of about 3 }4 to 4 per cent, per annum 

during 1936-37. . , , 

The payment of interest on this debit balance is one ot the 
major problems of Canadian economic policy. So long as 
world trade flourishes, Canadian exports will provide the 
necessary funds. In a world of shrunken trade and increas¬ 
ing tariff barriers the payment is rendered extremely difficult. 
The tariff policy of the Dominion must always keep in view 
this obligation of external payments, and must endeavour to 
secure for the Dominion as a whole an annual surplus suffi¬ 
cient to meet the obligation. In the past the principal sur- 
pluses have come from trade with Great Britain while the 
principal debts have been paid in the Ijnited States, the 
Canadian dollar having to be kept in a position of equili- 
brium relative to the pound sterling and the New York 
dollar. 8 The growth of the tourist trade 4 and the develop- 

l Canada Year Book , 1936, p. 891. 

2As at December 31, 1937. See the Bulletin, cited supra. 

3In 1931-2 Canada was pinched between the depreciated pound and the 
dollar From this painful situation she was relieved by Roosevelt s inflation policy. See 
rfutL T Douelas and Plumptre, A. F. W., “The Economic Effects on Canada of the 
Recent' Monetary Policy of the United States”, in Canadian Papers for th . e .^ ose1 "^ 
Conference, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1936; also chart showing relations of the pound 
and the dollar in Siegfried, Canada , p. 202. 

4The net credit balance on tourist account was estimated at 170 million dollars in 
1937. See below, p. 42. 


ment of new staples (pulp and paper, gold and other min¬ 
erals) are helping considerably to facilitate payment on the 
external debt payable in the United States. 


The importance of foreign trade to Canada has already 
been stressed. The direction and nature of that trade have 
also a great influence upon the Dominion’s domestic and 
foreign policy. A simple picture of Canada’s commercial 
dealings with foreign countries is given in the following 
tables. 1 

Canadian exports are distributed in the following percentages: 

































1926. ... 





















Canadian imports are derived from the following sources: 






















































These figures show that Canada’s most important eco¬ 
nomic relationships are with the United States. To that 

i Condensed Preliminary Report on the Trade of Canada , 1936-37, p. 32. The figures 
represent dollar value. 


country went 41 per cent, of Canada s exports in 1937, from 
it came 58.7 per cent, of the imports. The United Kingdom 
ranks a good second in economic importance, taking 38.4 
per cent, of the exports and providing 19.3 per cent, of the 
imports; it also provides a very favourable balance for 
Canada. In terms of totals, Canada’s trade with the United 
States was 729 million dollars in 1937, with the United King¬ 
dom, 537 million dollars. 

If Canada’s trade is viewed with respect to its internal 
regional basis, the importance of foreign markets varies 
greatly. Certain parts of Canada, such as the prairies and 
the mining regions in northern Quebec and Ontario, could 
not live at all without foreign trade; other parts, such as the 
rural districts of Quebec and the Maritimes, are more self- 
sustaining. For British Columbia and the Prairie Provinces 
the export trade with Great Britain is of paramount impor¬ 
tance, whereas Ontario imports more from the British Isles 
than she exports to them. The principal consuming markets 
of Canada are in Ontario and western Quebec, where popu¬ 
lation and wealth are concentrated. 

The United States and Great Britain accounted for nearly 
80 per cent, of Canada’s total foreign trade in 1937. During 
the world depression Canada’s commercial relationships with 
the United States declined while those with the United King¬ 
dom increased; between 1929 and 1934 the proportion of 
Canadian exports to and imports from the United States fell 
from 37 to 33 and 69 to 54 per cent, respectively, while exports 
to Britain rose from 31 to 43 per cent, and imports from Britain 
from 15 to 24 per cent. 1 This was due to various causes 
amongst which may be mentioned the tariff increases in the 
United States and Canada, the greater intensity of the de¬ 
pression in the United States as compared with Great Bri¬ 
tain, the Ottawa Agreements, and the fact that a large part 
of Canadian trade with the United States is in capital goods 
an d in manufacturers’ raw materials, the demand for which 
is particularly affected by a depression. 2 The improvement 
in conditions since 1933, however, and particularly the 

1 Condensed Preliminary Report on the Trade of Canada , 1936-37, p. 32. 
2See Gibson and Plumptre, op. cit. 


Reciprocity Treaty with the United States which came into 
force on January 1, 1936, have tended again to increase 
the United States* share of Canada’s total trade. 

Since 1935 a significant change has come over Canada’s 
trade relations with the United States. Formerly the 
visible trade balance was unfavourable to Canada; in 1929 
the debit balance was as high as $363,800,000.! This differ¬ 
ence was made up by the surplus of exports to Great Britain 
and other countries, and by other items of exchange such as 
tourist expenditures. In 1936 and 1937, however, the trade 
with the United States (including gold exports) showed a 
favourable balance of considerable proportions. This change 
is making Canada less dependent on trade in Europe as a 
means of meeting her debt charges in the United States, 
though the permanence of the change may be open to doubt. 2 

In 1937 Canada’s trade with countries outside Great 
Britain and the United States was about evenly divided 
between other parts of the British Empire and other foreign 
countries. Exports to the latter were as high as 24 per cent, 
of total exports in 1929. Trade with other British Empire 
countries has grown while trade with other foreign countries 
has relatively declined in recent years. Belgium and Japan 
are Canada’s best customers amongst non-British countries, 
apart from the United States. The trade with Japan in 
certain raw materials increased rapidly as the Sino-Japanese 
dispute of 1937 became acute; exports to Japan of nickel, 
scrap iron, lead, copper, aluminium, zinc and sulphite rose 
from million dollars in 1936 to 17J^ million dollars in 
1937. 3 It is clear that Japan, like Great Britain, looks to 
Canada as a source of supply of raw materials in time of war. 

The gross value of Canada’s external trade varies greatly 
with world conditions. The high point of 1929 showed ex¬ 
ports at $1,368,000,000 and imports of $1,266,000,000. By 
1933 these had fallen to $528,000,000 and $406,000,000, or 
declines of 61.5 per cent, and 67.9 per cent, respectively. 4 
By 1937 the exports had reached a value of $1,061,181,000 

l Condensed Preliminary Report on the Trade of Canada, 1936-37, p. 31. 

2The most recent figures seem to suggest a revival of the adverse balance. 

3Calendar years. In the same period Japan’s purchase of Canadian foodstuffs declined. 

4 Canada Year Book , 1937, pp. 528-9. 


and imports a value of $671,875,000.' These variations are 
reflected rapidly in the Canadian economy, though, as has 
been said, the internal rigidities may distribute the effect of 

the changes very unevenly. . . 

The distribution of Canadian trade by continents is of lm- 
portance, because of its bearing on the possibility of regional 
economic and political arrangements. In the fiscal year 
1936-37, the continental percentages of Canadian imports 

and exports were : 2 



XTnrth America Total . 



lM Ul lit riiiitilocij x .. 

fTTrnfpH States. 




\ Other. 

2.6 J 




Tnrnne Total . 



f United Kingdom . 





1 Other . 








Smith America . 



Oceania . 






These figures show again Canada s predominant depend¬ 
ence upon North America; they also indicate the very small 
degree of trade with South America. 

The above analysis shows the visible trade items. Amongst 
the invisible items the tourist trade is of great importance; 
it might be described as a major industry of the Dominion. 
In 1929 the net income from this source reached 187 million 
dollars, deduction being made of Canadian tourist expendi¬ 
ture abroad; in the years 1935-37 it was 123, 156 and 170 
millions respectively. Nearly all of this comes from the 
United States, and helps to adjust the balance of trade with 
that country in Canada’s favour. To stimulate the influx of 
tourists large amounts of money are being spent improving 
highways, developing summer and winter sport resorts, and 
opening up scenic regions. 

l Condensed, Preliminary Report on the Trade of Canada, 1936-37, p. 31. 

2 Ibid., p. 16. 



The principle on which the Canadian tariff has been built 
since 1907 is that there are three categories of duties—the 
general, the intermediate and the British preferential. The 
general tariff provides a maximum rate for countries with 
which Canada has no commercial treaty relationships; the 
intermediate is for countries which the Dominion wishes to 
treat more favourably; the British preference, initiated in 
1897, gives a lower rate for any part of the British Empire 
to which the Canadian government may wish to extend it. 
According to the practice in the Commonwealth, concessions 
under the British preference are not available to foreign 
countries with which Canada has most-favoured-nation 

This broad tariff structure is modified by numerous indi¬ 
vidual agreements with particular countries. Canada, with 
a few exceptions, adopts in practice the unconditional most¬ 
favoured-nation principle, and hence tariff concessions to one 
country (excluding British preferential rates) are automatic¬ 
ally extended to all other countries with which Canada has 
treaty arrangements. Easily the most important trade agree¬ 
ments are those regulating Canada's dealings with her two 
biggest customers—the United States and Great Britain. 

The trade agreement between Canada and the United 
States came into effect on January 1, 1936. Canada secured 
reduced duties on some 60 commodities representative of the 
main fields of Canadian production. Concessions by Canada 
included the extension to the United States of the inter¬ 
mediate tariff in its entirety, 1 and reductions in 88 items 
below existing favoured-nation rates. Unconditional most¬ 
favoured-nation treatment in respect of customs matters 
was mutually agreed upon. 2 

The trade relations between Canada and Great Britain 
are governed by the Ottawa agreements of 1932, modified by 
the changes which took effect on September 1, 1937. The 

lThis concession means that the general tariff has ceased to be of great importance in 
the Canadian tariff structure; practically all Canadian trade is governed now by the 
intermediate or by the British preferential rates. 

2See Feis, H., “A Year of the Canadian Trade Agreement”, Foreign Affairs, July, 1937; 
Bidwell, Percy W., “The Prospects for a Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom”, 
Foreign Affairs, October, 1937. 


principal Canadian exports benefitted were wheat, timber, 
hams and bacon, fisheries products, milk products, copper, 
lead and zinc; British manufactures given lower rates in the 
Canadian market were mostly in the groups of iron and steel, 
drugs and chemicals, textiles and leather goods. Under the 
agreement revisions of duties may be sought by the British 
government before the Dominion Tariff Board. So far these 
have resulted in only modest changes of former schedules, 
and little additional preference for the British manufacturer. 

Canadian trade with both the United States and Great 
Britain has increased very greatly since these agreements 
went into effect, but it is not easy to decide how far the in¬ 
crease was due to these or to other factors. Total trade be¬ 
tween Canada and Great Britain, both exports and imports, 
increased by approximately $143,000,000 from March, 1933, 
to March, 1937, but in the same interval total trade with the 
United States increased $371,000,000, though the reciprocity 
treaty had only been in effect 15 months while the Ottawa 
agreements had been operating for nearly four and a half 
years. 1 

Besides these two principal agreements, Canada has trade 
treaties with other British dominions such as Australia, 
South Africa, New Zealand, Southern Rhodesia and the 
Irish Free State. There is an agreement with France, and 
special arrangements have been made with Germany, Poland 
and Japan. Altogether most-favoured-nation treatment is 
accorded some 32 foreign countries. 2 


That Canada has been endowed by nature with very con¬ 
siderable natural resources is an undoubted fact. She pos¬ 
sesses unoccupied land, large forests, rich coal and mineral 
deposits, undeveloped water powers. The natural basis for a 
prosperous community seems to be present. The easy as¬ 
sumption is too often made, however, that nothing is lacking 
save population to make this wealth useful and available. 



Condensed Preliminary Report on the Trade of Canada, 1936-37, p. 31. See also Taylor, 
V , “The Effect of the Ottawa Agreements on Canadian Trade , in Canadian Papers 
he Yosemite Conference, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1936 (C.I.I.A., Toronto). 

See summary in Canada Year Book, 1937, pp. 487 ff. 


What has already been said about population problems will 
suggest there is a fallacy in this conclusion. 

Moreover, a closer inspection of Canada’s resources makes 
them appear less alluring. The most obvious possession of the 
Dominion is land, yet by far the greater part of the land is 
unsuited for agricultural settlement. The Dominion Bureau 
of Statistics estimates that only 27.5 per cent, of the land 
area of Canada is “potential” agricultural land (352,000,000 
acres), of which total 46.3 per cent. (163,000,000 acres) is 
occupied, leaving some 189,000,000 still unoccupied. 1 Of the 
“occupied” land possibly as much as 40,000,000 acres is 
either rough bush land, unfit for production of anything but 
timber, or semi-arid. The maximum area under field crops 
was reached in 1930, with 62,214,000 acres. Since then this 
figure has slowly declined. The official figure for “potential” 
agricultural land as given above is unreliable; a competent 
authority has called it a gross exaggeration. 2 It does not rest 
upon a scientific analysis of soil, and makes no allowance for 
remoteness of markets. Thus for the province of Nova Scotia, 
whose settlement began over 200 years ago, the official 
figures give a total area of some 17,000,000 acres, an area 
“occupied” as farm land of some 4,000,000 acres and an 
area of “estimated possible farm land” of some 8,000,000 
acres. There is little doubt that every piece of land in Nova 
Scotia that would sustain life on any reasonable scale was 
long ago taken up. Indeed, some land from which people are 
trying to make a living today is so poor that it probably 
ought to be abandoned. 

The official figures for the other provinces are almost as 
misleading. In the three Prairie Provinces the most recent 
surveys suggest that in 1931 there were only another 20,- 
000,000 acres or so available and suitable for occupation: if 
these were filled with settlers in accordance with existing 
agricultural practices it would only increase the population 
of the area by 600,000 or 700,000 persons. 3 This assumes too 

1 Canada Year Book, 1936, p. 38. 

Mackintosh, W. A. in Bowman, Isaiah (ed.), Limits of Land Settlement (New York, 
1937), p. 71. I am indebted to Prof. A. R. M. Lower for this general criticism of the 
official figures. 

3Angus, H. F. (ed.), Canada and the Doctrine of Peaceful Change , pp. 53-4; Mackintosh, 
W. A., Prairie Settlement: The Geographical Setting (Toronto, 1934) (Canadian Frontiers 
of Settlement, Vol. I), pp. 232-4. 



that there would be a market for the additional wheat grown. 

In a great part of the west it is “wheat or nothing . Only 
one-third of what is needed to support life on the prairies 
can be produced there, owing to the specialized nature ol 
western agriculture. The size of farms has been increasing 
and the density of rural population decreasing, thus reducing 
the degree to which agriculture can stimulate immigration. 
The Attorney-General of Saskatchewan declared before the 
Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations that 
at present (1937) of economically free land (i.e. land that it 
would pay under present conditions to settle) there is in 
Saskatchewan none. 

Natural resources in Canada are frequently the sole source 
of livelihood in their area. Much of the mining country in 
the Pre-Cambrian Shield will produce nothing but minerals; 
the soil is second or third rate in quality and uneven in occur¬ 
rence, and will seldom support independent agricultural 
communities. Increased supplies of minerals are not needed 
for present domestic consumption. Unless, therefore, these 
resources can be extracted and sold abroad, or a larger 
market can be provided at home, they are not resources at 
all. “The millions of tons of bituminous coal underlying the 
province of Alberta are no more natural resources under 
existing conditions than is the nitrogen in the atmosphere 
overlying that province.” 2 If conditions change, particularly 
if world trade develops, Canada will be able to employ more 
persons in the development of her wealth, but in the present 
Canadian economy the ‘Value” of the resources is largely 
determined by foreign demand over which Canada has little 

Certain raw materials are found in small quantity only or 
are lacking altogether. The petroleum supply is meagre, 
though the Turner Valley fields of Alberta are showing con¬ 
siderable promise. Because of the lack of a market for the 
natural gas overlying this oil field, it has been disposed of 
for many years by the simple process of burning it off at the 
rate of 225,000,000 cubic feet per day. 3 Canada has little 

lBowman (ed.), Limits of Land Settlement, p. 72. 

3 Alberta* s^first attempt to"*control this huge wastage was prevented by the courts. See 
Spooner Oils case, Canada, Supreme Court Reports, 1933, p. b2y. 


anthracite and imports virtually all her supplies; about half 
the bituminous coal used is imported, owing to the distance 
of the Nova Scotia and Alberta fields. Iron ore is found 
in a number of places but not rich in quantity or quality; 
consequently supplies are imported from the Wabana de¬ 
posits of Newfoundland and the Mesabi range of Minnesota. 
Aluminium and tin are absent. Tropical and semi-tropical 
products—rubber, cotton, silk, sugar, cocoa, coffee, tea and 
oils—must be imported. 

Canada’s large foreign trade, her accumulation of capital 
equipment and her ability now to service her foreign debt, all 
are proof that her natural resources have been effectively 
developed and that the money invested in her has been, on 
the whole, put to profitable use. At the same time the num¬ 
bers of her unemployed and the difficulties she has experi¬ 
enced in her public finance during and since the world 
depression, serve as reminders that a proper utilization of her 
resources calls for an improvement in her internal economic 
organization as well as in the state of world markets. Many 
Canadians feel, indeed, that even without waiting for world 
improvement Canada could, by appropriate internal reforms 
(about which there is much difference of opinion) increase 
her consuming power and provide a larger home market for 
her own produce, while many see a similar possibility in 
intra-Commonwealth economic co-operation. 


The state has played a very large part in the development 
of Canadian industry and commerce. Canadians possess 
many of the individualistic traits common to a people with 
a strong pioneering tradition, but at the same time they have 
not hesitated to employ the power of the state to achieve 
results which could not be obtained by individual action. 
The construction of canals and railways was the first eco¬ 
nomic undertaking to engage the attention of Canadian 
governments on a large scale. The three transcontinental 
lines all received ample, at times too ample, state aid in the 
form of direct subsidies, grants of land or guarantees of bonds. 
Today the Canadian National Railway System functions 



as a state-owned public corporation, with approximately 
24,000 miles of track, or 57 per cent, of the total 
Canadian mileage. The Canadian Pacific Railway, though 
privately owned, is governed as to rates, the construction 
of branch lines and certain other aspects of administration, 
by the Dominion Board of Railway Commissioners. Many 
other transportation facilities come under, public control. 
All harbours and canals belong to the Dominion; harbours 
are managed by a centralized National Harbours Board and 
the canals by the Department of Transport. A system of 
telegraphs, a number of hotels and an express delivery ser¬ 
vice belong to the Dominion as part of the Canadian National 
Railways. The Post Office is a Dominion government depart¬ 
ment, and radio broadcasting is licensed and controlled 
by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, modelled after 
the British Broadcasting Corporation, and reaching many 
Canadians with its own stations. From the period of the 
war until 1936 the Dominion government operated a mer¬ 
chant marine, but in the latter year the ships were sold and 
the service discontinued; the only shipping service now 
carried on by the state is that connecting with the West 
Indian ports in conformity with the Canadian-West Indian 
Trade Agreement Act of 1926, and consisting of a fleet of 
11 vessels. Dominion control over air transport has been 
secured by the enforcement within Canada of the Conven¬ 
tion Relating to Aerial Navigation of 1919; the subject of 
aerial navigation was held by the Privy Council in 1932 to 
be within Dominion jurisdiction. In 1937 a corporation 
known as Trans-Canada Air Lines, the shares of which are 
owned by the Canadian National Railway Company, was 
created to develop the transcontinental air service. 

Besides these national services, the Dominion govern¬ 
ment controls economic policy through a number of agencies. 
The maintenance of a tariff is the best example of a type 
of state interference with business, which has always received 
the hearty support of Canadian manufacturers. The use 
of the tariff to achieve a political rather than an economic 
objective is seen in the system of imperial preferences, in 
force since 1898. Adjustments in the tariff can be effected 


through the instrumentality of the Tariff Board to which 
may be referred proposals for alterations of schedules. 

Since 1935 Canada has had a central bank partly state- 
controlled from the first, and now state-owned, which al¬ 
lows of increased control over the internal credit situation 
and foreign exchange movements. 1 A Dominion Trade and 
Industry Commission was created by Mr. Bennett in 1935 
with authority to control unfair trade practices and enforce 
commodity standards; this legislation was upheld by the 
Privy Council but the Commission has been little employed 
since the King government took office. A National Em¬ 
ployment Commission existed from 1936 to 1938 for the pur¬ 
pose of collecting information regarding unemployment and 
advising as to the best measures to improve and co-ordinate 
relief administration throughout the country; unemployment 
relief generally, however, is managed by the provinces and • 
municipalities with Dominion financial assistance. 

Government control of marketing has been experimented 
with to some degree. Mr. Bennett established a Wheat 
Board with power to fix prices to producers and to market 
the entire wheat crop, and he enacted the first Natural 
Products Marketing Act to control, in co-operation with the 
provinces, the marketing of many primary products. Mr. 
King repealed the former legislation and the Privy Council 
invalidated the latter, but the Wheat Board was replaced 
by one with less extensive powers, and the provincial market¬ 
ing acts are still in operation to a limited extent. 

Turning to the provincial services, the best known is the 
Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission, which produces 
and distributes electric power in Ontario. The distribution, 
and in some cases the production also, of electric power is 
provided in part by provincial commissions in Nova Scotia, 
New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Road build¬ 
ing is a major provincial service; in 1935 the funded pro¬ 
vincial debt for highways stood at close to 500 million dollars. 
The telephone system is publicly owned in the three pro¬ 
vinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta; by this 
means remote areas and sparsely populated districts are 

!See special article on the Bank of Canada in the Canada Year Book, 1937, pp. 879-86. 


provided with telephone communication which private enter¬ 
prise would never have brought them. The retail sale of 
alcoholic beverages is a state enterprise in all provinces but 
Prince Edward Island, which enjoys prohibition.* In addi¬ 
tion to these provincial services, many municipalities have 
their own systems for electric light and power, gas, water 
and street railways. 

The state in Canada has also intervened in the economic 
sphere on behalf of industrial workers and certain other un¬ 
protected classes, by adopting various forms of social legis¬ 
lation. It would be impossible in brief compass to analyse 
in detail this large body of law. It is mostly provincial in 
character because of the constitutional allotment of powers, 
in consequence it varies greatly in different parts of the 
country. Dominion legislation is small in quantity. There 
is no national labour code. The Dominion assists in the 
payment of old age pensions, which are. now in force in 
every province on a non-contributory basis; it also pays a 
share of the money distributed by the provinces in unem¬ 
ployment relief. There is a Dominion Department of 
Health, but it has exercised little direct administrative 
authority save over certain health services of minor im¬ 
portance. A Dominion Industrial Disputes Investigation 
Act makes possible the creation of voluntary arbitration and 
conciliation boards in certain types of industrial dispute. A 
pensions service for the blind was begun in 1937. A Farmers 
Creditors Arrangement Act provides machinery for debt 
adjustment between creditors and debtors. 2 The Dominion 
co-operates with the provinces in the establishment and 
operation of Employment Service Offices. 

Provincial legislation provides workmen s compensation 
in all but one of the provinces, payable in most instances out 
of an insurance fund created by compulsory contributions 
from employers only. Mothers’ allowances exist in seven 
provinces. Minimum wages for women are set by boards 

1 Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 626. 

2See Easterbrook W T., "Agricultural Debt Adjustment”, Canadian Journal of 
Economics and Political Science, 1936, p. 390. Several provinces have also adopted measures 
designed to protect farmers and householders against dispossession by creditors. 


for certain industries in seven provinces. New Brunswick 
has a Fair Wage Act, enabling a board to fix in any trade, 
industry or business wages and hours where these are found, 
on inquiry, to be unfair. Legislation providing for enforce¬ 
ment and extension of collective labour agreements exists 
in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, and minimum 
wages of male employees are thus fixed by piecemeal ar¬ 
rangement in a considerable number of industries. The state 
does not set minimum male wages generally save in British 
Columbia and Alberta. Health insurance has been enacted 
in British Columbia, but has not yet been put into operation; 
it exists nowhere else in Canada, though some provinces 
provide payment for medical services to the unemployed. 
Municipal doctors are fairly common in the prairies especi¬ 
ally in Saskatchewan, and experiments in voluntary co¬ 
operative health service organization on a city or county 
basis, are being encouraged in Ontario. Every province 
regulates hours of labour to some degree, but the 48-hour 
week is by no means general. The Eight-Hour-Day Con¬ 
vention of 1919 was ratified by Canada in 1935; but the 
legislation enacted by the Dominion Parliament in 1935 to 
give effect to it was declared ultra vires by the Privy Council 
in 1937. Compulsory education exists in every province 
except Quebec. 

No unemployment insurance exists in Canada, Mr. Ben¬ 
nett’s legislation of 1935 having been set aside by the Privy 
Council. The King government in 1937 proposed an amend¬ 
ment to the B. N. A. Act to give jurisdiction over this head 
to the Dominion; only five out of the nine provinces have 
agreed to the proposal, and so far there has been no further 
action taken to secure the change. There is no national 
system regulating hours or wages, and no health insurance 
or holidays with pay. State aid to assist housing develop¬ 
ment is extremely meagre. There is little uniformity in the 
provincial regulations on the various matters covered by 
social legislation. 1 Since the impetus to reform given by the 

iln 1933 the total expenditure of all provinces on general factory and minimum wage 
inspection was only 8.5 cents per non-agricultural worker, which was less than that spent 
m the state of New Hampshire, which ranked thirty-fourth amongst the American states. 
Keport of Royal Commission on Price Spreads, 1935, p. 129. 


depression there has been some improvement in the adminis¬ 
tration of the provincial social services, but no forward 
movement can be expected until the financial relations and 
distribution of constitutional powers between the Dominion 
and the provinces are placed on a sounder basis. 


The standard of living of the Canadian people is generally 
rated high. The enquiry conducted by the League of Nations 
in 1929 into comparative living standards ranked Canada 
second after the United States. 1 This investigation was 
based on rather limited data, however. Moreover in a coun¬ 
try divided like Canada into economically distinct areas no 
single description will do for the whole territory. The 
Prairie Provinces of Canada, exposed as they have been to 
the double scourge of low prices for wheat and prolonged 
drought, have had their standard of living lowered further 
during the depression and raised less during the recovery 
than have the industrialized sections of the country. The 
standard in Quebec is lower than that in Ontario, a fact 
vividly revealed by contrasting the vital and health statistics 
for the two provinces. 2 There are, too, factors of taste and 
value which are impossible to include in any quantitative 
analysis. The French Canadian, because of the character of 
his religious education, tends to believe that a high standard 
of living is a proof of “materialism” and a dangerous influ¬ 
ence on society. All that will be attempted here is to give 
some statistics out of which a general picture of Canadian 
conditions may emerge. 

The average earnings disclosed by all wage-earners during 
the twelve months prior to the last three censuses were as 
follows : s 

lSee International Labour Review, 1929, pp. 580, 876. The order of the first seven coun¬ 
tries was (Great Britain—100), U.S. 191, Canada 171, Australia 143, Denmark 104, Sweden 
101, Irish Free State 98. Indices of real wages and cost of living have not varied sufficiently 
since 1929 to alter this ranking to any great extent. 

2See also table in Submission by the Government of Saskatchewan to the Royal Commission 
on Dominion-Provincial Relations (1937), p. 297, showing that Ontario in 1931 with a popu¬ 
lation of 3.4 millions had about three times as many automobiles, radios and telephones 
as Quebec, whose population was 2.9 millions. 

iCanada Year Book ,1937 ,p. 789. 



Average Earnings of All Wage-Earners Ten Years 
of Age or Over 

Male Female 

1911. $ 593 $313 

1921. 1057 573 

1931. 927 559 

The same statistics show that in 1930 there were 60 per cent, 
of the male workers and 82 per cent, of the female workers 
receiving less than $1,000 a year. This was, however, a year 
of declining revenues, and these figures include individuals 
of all ages, as well as employments which provide some re¬ 
muneration in kind. Some attempt has been made by the 
Dominion Bureau of Statistics to calculate earnings per 
family for average families in selected cities; in 17 cities 
studied the modal group (1930) was in the $1,200-$1,399 or 
the $1,400-$1,599 income class. 

These figures may be compared, with some caution, with 
calculations of minimum budgets. A budget of minimum 
requirements for a family of five produced by the Montreal 
Council of Social Agencies in 1926 placed the amount of 
necessary income at $1,102. Corrected for variations in the 
cost of living index, this works out at $1,059 for 1930. This 
would seem to indicate that average wages of individuals 
would not enable them to support a family of five on a 
minimum budget, but that in families where there are 
several wage-earners the average is likely to be above the 
minimum. 1 

The 1931 census showed that for Canada as a whole 54.5 
per cent, of urban householders lived in rented dwellings. 
Land owning amongst farmers is high, four-fifths of the 
number of farms being owned by those who work them. 
Figures for acreage, however, show that more than one-third 
of the acreage is worked by tenants and another third is 
mortgaged to an average of 40 per cent, of its value. Be¬ 
tween 1921 and 1931 tenant acreage increased 34 per cent., 
part tenant acreage 111 per cent., while the fully owned 

^Further statistics, particularly with regard to unemployed, will be found in Marsh, 
I*. C., Health and Unemployment (Toronto, 1938), Chap. 20. 


acreage actually decreased. This tendency to concentration 
of ownership in land has continued since 1931, at least on 
the prairies, as appears from the figures presented by the 
Saskatchewan government to the Rowell Commission. 1 

The income tax in Canada begins for single persons at 
$1,000, and for married persons with two children at $2,800. 
In 1936 there were 199,102 Canadians who paid income tax. 
Less than 12 per cent, of these were getting more than $5,000 
per year. An estimate made of the distribution of total 
national income amongst all wage and salary earners, based 
on census and income tax returns for 1931, shows the follow¬ 
ing picture: 2 

Number of 

Per cent. 


Per cent. 

Size of Income 




of Total 

Male and Female 


of dollars) 


Under $1,000. 















$3,000—$10,000. ... 





$10,000—and over.. 










This table shows that the 11,000 income receivers at the top 
had as large a total income as 400,000 at the bottom of the 
social scale. Almost half the total earnings went to 20 per 

lSee Submission (op. cit.), p. 145. The figures are: 













O wner-T enants 

Per cent. 





Per cent. 




Per cent. 




Per cent. 




Per cent. 





See also Brief Submitted by the Government of Ontario to the Royal Commission on Domin¬ 
ion-Provincial Relations , Vol. I, p. 20, where it is shown that 14,948 or 5 per cent, of the 
farm owners own 26,098,771 acres or 23.07 per cent, of the occupied farm acreage or 
the Prairie Provinces. 

2Woodsworth, J. S., Distribution of Personal Income In Canada, cited League for Social 
Reconstruction, Social Planning for Canada (Toronto, 1935), p. 16. 


cent, of the earners. Statistics for bank deposits for 1935 
indicate a similar maldistribution of wealth: 92.5 per cent, 
of the four million depositors have accounts averaging only 
a little over $100; the top 1 per cent, of depositors own 35 
per cent, of total deposits. 1 An insurance company has cal¬ 
culated (1937) that of every 100 Canadian men starting life 
at 25, by age 65 “36 have died, 1 is wealthy, 4 are well-to-do, 
5 live on earnings, 54 are no longer self-supporting”. 2 

In 1934 the Royal Commission on Price Spreads made an 
extensive examination of economic conditions in the coun¬ 
try, and many Canadians, accustomed to believe that all 
workers in the Dominion enjoyed a high standard of living, 
were shocked at the disclosures of extremely low wages and 
poor working conditions in a number of Canadian industries. 
In some instances the offenders were industries enjoying 
monopoly power and high protection. “The evidence before 
the Commission proves that, in certain industries, the sweat 
shop still survives in Canada and that, more generally, 
unemployment and low wages have reduced many workers 
to a state of abject poverty.” 3 A great many men and 
women were found to be working for rates of ten cents per 
hour or less. At the same time there were (November, 1934) 
I»149,063 Canadians dependent on direct relief. 4 A family 
of five on relief in Montreal was receiving $39.48 per month; 
this had reached $42.23 by 1936. Other “black patches” 
undoubtedly exist in the country: even in 1937 the Chevrier 
Commission on Transportation found truck drivers receiving 
$15 to $18 per week of 65 hours in Ontario. A proposed mini¬ 
mum wage ordinance for unskilled labour in Quebec in 
February, 1938, suggested hourly rates ranging from 15 to 25 
cents, which were an advance on current rates of from 5 to 
20 per cent. 

From the depression figures there has, of course, been some 
recovery. Relief expenditures have dropped considerably, 
though in part this is due to drastic cutting of relief rolls and 

• ^Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 902. The 1 per cent, includes corporation as well as 
individual accounts. 

p l 2 f itCd> ^ eague * or Social Reconstruction, Democracy Needs Socialism (Toronto, 1938), 

3 Report of Royal Commission on Price Spreads, 1935, p. 107. 

4 Report of Dominion Commissioner of Unemployment Relief, March 30, 1935, p. 22. 


a maintenance of grants at bare subsistence levels. Pro¬ 
vincial regulation of wages and hours has improved, and 
doubtless has eliminated some of the worst conditions dis¬ 
closed by the Price Spreads Inquiry. Mr. Bennett s attempt 
to deal nationally with Canadian economic and social 
problems failed, however, and there is no possibility that 
the unco-ordinated provincial action can deal adequately 
with the situation. Minimum wages for experienced women 
workers under existing regulation in Ontario and Quebec are 
$12.50 per week of 48 to 54 hours. There are still 951,000 
persons dependent on direct relief. 1 Another depression 
could easily reproduce, in intensified form, the suffering of 
the last crisis. A growing militancy amongst Canadian 
trades unions in 1936-37, moving even the usually tranquil 
Catholic Syndicates in Quebec to carry on strikes, is an indi¬ 
cation of a feeling amongst the industrial workers in Canada 
that legislatures have failed to assist them and that self-help 
is necessary to improve their living standards. 

An interesting contrast between the living conditions in 
two different areas in the country, the prairies and Ontario, 
is provided by the following analysis made of the 1931 census 

When the census was taken in the summer of 1931 a period of rela¬ 
tive prosperity enjoyed by western agriculture had just drawn to a 
close. The census gives a total of 288,000 farms for the three Prairie 
provinces and 192,000 for Ontario, and contains a brief record of farm 
facilities in all the provinces. Of the 288,000 farms of the Prairie pro¬ 
vinces, 5,036 have water piped in the kitchen; or one out of every 
57.20 farms in western Canada in contrast with one out of every 9.54 
in Ontario. In the West one out of every 72.8 has water piped in the 
bathroom (it would be interesting to know how many have a bathroom 
of any kind) as compared with one out of 15.76 in Ontario. One out of 
every 34.44 Western farmhouses is lighted by gas or electricity as com¬ 
pared with one out of 5.95 in Ontario. In proportion to farms Ontario 
has more than twice as many rural telephones and over 40 per cent, 
more rural automobiles than western Canada. Of these automobiles 
four out of five in Ontario, four out of seventy-six in Western Canada, 
may travel on paved or gravelled highways, or, 20 per cent, of Ontario 

lDecember, 1937. This includes 551,000 non-agricultural and 400,000 agricultural 
persons receiving aid. Labour Gazette, February, 1938, p. 124. 


farms and 94.7 per cent, of all western farms are located on dirt 
roads.” 1 

Canada shows many of the characteristics of an older 
industrial community as regards standards of living and the 
distribution of income. It reveals a great concentration of 
wealth, the social counterpart of the trend to monopoly, 
while not only amongst the unemployed but also amongst 
a considerable section of industrial and agricultural labourers 
the standard of living is low. In the intermediate brackets 
there is an average standard lower than that of equivalent 
groups in the United States but considerably higher than 
that in Europe. Even the better paid Canadian employees, 
however, are without the social security provisions which 
most European workers enjoy. 


( A ) Labour Organization. 

By comparison with most democratic countries the Cana¬ 
dian labour movement is in the earlier stages of development. 
The total membership in Canadian unions in 1931 was only 
310,544 out of a total wage-earning group of 2,570,000. Even 
excluding from this latter figure the professional and higher- 
paid salaried workers, there would remain at least 2,000,000 
whom a trades-union movement might hope to organize. 
This means that more than 85 per cent, of the workers were 
unorganized. 2 In 1936 union membership had only risen to 
322,473, 3 which is less than it was in 1919-20 despite the 
increase in population. 

Not only are most Canadian workers unprotected by 
trades unions, but such unions as exist are divided against 
each other. The Roman Catholic Church in Quebec, fearful 
of losing its hold over the industrialized French-Canadian 
workers, organized the Federation of Catholic Workers of 
Canada in 1921. These Catholic Syndicates, as they are 

Hnnis and Plumptre (eds.), op. cit., p. 110. 

foetal Planning for Canada , p. 114. Canada was ranked twenty-third amongst the 
nur^ nS b ? X r th 1 e , te . rn f t 3 onal federation of Trades Unions in 1925; Brady, A., Canada 
(Modern World Series) (London, 1932), p. 257. 

iAnnual Report on Labour Organization, 1936. 



called, have a priest as chaplain to every local, and seldom 
move without clerical advice. 1 They have hitherto been more 
concerned with carrying on struggles against communism 
and the international unions than against employers for 
better wages, though in 1937 they conducted several incon¬ 
clusive strikes. Their membership in 1936 was 45,000. 

The principal non-sectarian unions are divided between 
the “international” unions and the “national” unions. The 
international unions are affiliates of the American Federa¬ 
tion of Labor or the Committee on Industrial Organization, 
to which they pay dues. Part of these dues, however, is 
remitted to Canada to finance the Trades and Labour 
Congress of Canada, the co-ordinating authority for the 
Dominion. In 1936 the Congress, representing 66 organiza¬ 
tions, had a membership of 149,398, the total membership of 
international unions being 174,769. The split between the 
A. F. of L. and the C. I.O. has not been permitted to invade 
Canada, and most C. I. O. unions are still members of the 
Trades and Labour Congress. Indeed it seems that the 
principal support of the Trades and Labour Congress comes 
from unions which have split from, or have never been in, the 
A. F. of L. in the United States. 2 

The national unions in Canada are organized in the All- 
Canadian Congress of Labour which has a membership 
(1936) of 31,883. It favours the industrial rather than the 
craft union. Its members constantly exploit the patriotic 
appeal in their fight against the international unions. In 
addition to this organization there exist some smaller or¬ 
ganizations, like the Canadian Federation of Labour, which 
split from the All-Canadian Congress (membership, 1936, 
25,081), and the once powerful One Big Union (membership, 
24,000, in 1935) which operates in the western provinces. 
Total membership in Canadian unions, excluding the Catho¬ 
lic unions, was about 100,000. 

Many reasons may be given for the backward condition 

iThe constitution of the Federation contains this clause: “The F.C.W.C. is a frankly 
and openly Catholic organization. It affiliates with itself Catholic organizations alone, it 
adheres to the whole doctrine of the Church and it promises always and in everything to 
follow the directions of the Pope and of the Canadian bishops." Quoted Latham, A. B., 
The Catholic and National Labour Unions of Canada (Toronto, 1930), p. 99. 

2Ware Norman J. and Logan, H. A., Labor in Canadian-American Relations (Toronto, 
1937), p. 68. 



of Canadian labour organization. Race, religion and geo¬ 
graphy make union difficult. Workers in mines and forests 
may be hundreds of miles from the nearest urban centres. 
Often they are in “company towns”. The individualist 
philosophy pervades North America, and a belief in steady 
financial progress as the inevitable reward for honest toil 
continues to dominate the outlook of the people, making 
even those inside the unions poor proselytizers and those 
outside blind to the need for co-operation. The constant 
addition of new immigrants to the Canadian labour market 
up to 1930 provided employers with cheap labour willing to 
work hard to establish itself in its new home, and liable to 
deportation at the hands of administrative tribunals if it ran 
foul of the law. Between 1930 and 1934, when there was 
considerable labour unrest due to the depression, more 
immigrants were deported than in the previous 27 years, 
many for acts arising out of their connection with radical 
movements. Moreover, the lack of a common background in 
the workers has been an additional factor in enabling large- 
scale industrial enterprises to oppose trade unionism very 
effectively. When the premier of the largest industrial 
province in Canada can enter an election with a policy of 
preventing Canadian workers from choosing their own 
unions freely, it would seem to indicate, even though his 
threats were not implemented by legislation, that the public 
have not moved very far in the political direction travelled 
by New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain. 1 

Labour’s lack of organization is reflected also in the ab¬ 
sence of a consumer’s co-operative movement in Canada. 
Some beginnings have been made, but the total membership 
in retail co-operative societies affiliated with the Co-opera¬ 
tive Union of Canada was only 11,000 in 1935, and the total 
number of societies was 34. 2 These figures, however, do not 
include the credit unions in Quebec known as the “Caisses 
Populaires”, which have a considerable membership. An 
interesting experiment in co-operation is being carried on in 

iMr. Hepburn bitterly fought the C.I.O. when it first became active in Ontario. See 
Ware and Logan, op. cit., pp. 63 ff. He interpreted his victory in the election of 1937 
as an endorsation of his anti-C.I.O. pblicy. (See Montreal Gazette , October 7, 1937.) 

2 Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 767. 


Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island under the direction 
of St. Francis Xavier University. 

( B) Farmer Organization. 

By contrast with Canadian labour, the Canadian farmers, 
particularly in the western provinces, have shown great initi¬ 
ative. Both on the side of economic and of political organiza¬ 
tion they have been active. Whereas total sales in the retail 
co-operatives amounted to less than $4,000,000, total busi¬ 
ness in the agricultural co-operatives amounted to over 
$158,000,000 in 1935, while their membership was 367,000. 
The biggest and best-known of these societies are the wheat 
pools of western Canada. Despite their losses during the 
depression the pools have survived as co-operative elevator 
companies and in 1936 handled approximately 50 per cent, 
of the total wheat crop of the Dominion. 

From the farmers also have come the most successful inde¬ 
pendent political movements in Canada. The Ontario 
farmers captured the provincial legislature in 1919, and the 
United Farmers of Alberta were successful in the provincial 
elections of 1921. In 1922 Manitoba returned a farmer 
government. Sixty-six “Progressives”, as these farmer 
groups were generally called, were elected to the Dominion 
Parliament in 1921, twenty-four from Ontario and forty-one 
from the western provinces. 1 All these groups lost ground 
as the boom period of the 1920’s gathered momentum. 
They had no political philosophy to differentiate them from 
traditional liberalism, and to that fold they mostly returned. 
The United Farmers of Alberta survived the longest until, 
due to the depression and internal difficulties, they were 
overwhelmingly defeated by William Aberhart and his Social 
Credit followers in 1935. 

lBrady, Canada, p. 110. 


T HE party system in Canada is a convention of the con¬ 
stitution, as it is in England. The law does not require 
it, but the present working of the governmental machin¬ 
ery depends upon it. There are two major parties in the 
Dominion field, Liberals and Conservatives, which have 
alternated in office since Confederation with the single excep¬ 
tion of the Union government of 1917-21. Parties of the 
same names, though not always with the same policies, 
contest provincial elections and have generally controlled 
provincial politics. There are also a number of minor 
parties, which rise and fall with the varying stimuli to poli¬ 
tical action and which have hitherto been more successful 
in the provincial than in the federal arena. 


The Liberal Party, led by Mr. Mackenzie King, now forms 
the Dominion government, with the largest majority in the 
House of Commons since Confederation, though a minority 
in the Senate. 1 The party is also in power in every province 
except Quebec and Alberta. It last wrote a programme at a 
convention held in 1919, but programmes count for little in 
Canada except amongst the minor parties before they attain 
power. In general it has stood for nationalism in its political 
relations with the Commonwealth and other countries, and 
internationalism in trade. It has been responsible for most 
of the initiative in the development of Canadian autonomy 
within the Commonwealth since 1921, for it held office from 
that year until 1930, except for a brief interval in 1926. Its 

lThe Canadian Senate being nominative and not elective, a victory at the polls does 
not change the composition of the upper house until vacancies caused by death can be 
filled by new nominations. 


I §§1 





tariff policy has always been more moderate than that of the 
Conservatives, though it does not favour free trade. It has 
advocated social legislation in principle, but since it has also 
supported “provincial rights” it has been either unable or 
unwilling to implement these principles in the Dominion field 
save in a comparatively small degree. It is opposed to all 
attempts to control production or marketing, and inclines 
to view the state as the traditional policeman standing on 
the edge of the open market to see that competition is fair. 
The progressive disappearance of the open market has not 
altered its attitude. It draws its support from all parts of 
the country and all classes of people; the name ‘Liberal’ 
unites ultra-conservative protectionist French Catholics 
from Quebec (most of whom have voted Liberal for years) 
and progressive free-trade British Protestants from the west¬ 
ern provinces. Imperial preference was the invention of the 
Liberal party; the Ottawa agreements, though loyally ob¬ 
served by it, run counter to its aim of freeing the channels of 
world trade generally. 


The Conservative party has traditionally been a party of 
imperial co-operation abroad and economic nationalism at 
home—an inconsistency the exact reverse of that found in 
Canadian Liberalism. Its pro-imperialist leaning, however, 
has not excluded a growing acceptance of the idea of Domin¬ 
ion autonomy. Sir Robert Borden, in fact, took the lead 
among Dominion prime ministers in pressing for a definition 
of Dominion status. The party has never professed a belief 
in state interference with business, but under Mr. Bennett, 
who was appointed leader in 1927 and who held office from 
1930 to 1935, the party programme took such a sudden shift 
to the “left” that it made the Liberals appear far more 
conservative than the Conservatives. A glance at the 
Dominion statutes of 1933-35 will reveal how active was the 
Conservative leader in the promotion of social reform and 
state control of the economy. Mr. Bennett nationalized the 
radio, created a central bank, established a national system 
of marketing boards for primary products, pegged the price 



of wheat and placed the whole wheat export trade under a 
Wheat Board, negotiated a St. Lawrence Waterways Treaty 
with the United States, entered into the Ottawa agreements, 
initiated the new reciprocity agreement with Washington, 
extended the criminal law to prohibit unfair trade practices, 
created a Trade and Industry Commission to enforce the new 
prohibitions, and adopted Dominion legislation to deal with 
unemployment insurance, minimum wages, maximum hours, 
and the weekly day of rest. In the face of this political tour 
de force it is difficult to know how to describe the political 
philosophy of the Conservative party in Canada today. 
It is certainly not Tory, not laissez-faire liberal, and not the 
same as appears from its previous programme of 1927. The 
party is in partial eclipse; it holds but 37 seats at Ottawa 
and controls no provincial legislature; Mr. Bennett has 
announced his retirement; a new leader is to be chosen and 
a new programme written. Whoever the leader may be, it 
is likely that the party will continue at least moderately pro¬ 
gressive in its programme and will seek to attract the 
younger men who are dissatisfied with the lack of action and 
leadership in the present Liberal party. It is likely also that 
there will be a further move toward nationalism in foreign 
affairs; already the party name has been changed from 
Liberal-Conservative (the double title derives from a distant 
past) to National-Conservative. The change is a reflection 
of the shift in Canadian opinion generally, and also a bid for 
French-Canadian support. 

It must always be remembered, however, that the two 
major parties in Canada, like any parties, need campaign 
funds, and neither of them depends upon membership fees 
for its principal support. They consequently rely for the 
most part upon the contributions of well-to-do individuals 
and corporations. Such help sets immediate limits to the 
kind of political action which may be expected from them. 1 
So long as this relationship between private and corporate 

lSolnetimes this help is given in return for specific concessions. Any student^who 
wishes a realistic view of Canadian politics should read “After Beauharnois—What?”, by 
R. A. MacKay, in Maclean’s Magazine , Oct. 15, 1931, reprinted in Dawson, R. MacG., 
Constitutional Issues in Canada , 1900-1931 (London, 1933), p. 208. Other articles on Cana¬ 
dian political parties will be found in the latter volume. For a good historical analysis, 
see “The Development of National Political Parties in Canada”, by F. H. Underhill, 
Canadian Historical Review, 1935, p. 367. 



wealth and the two major parties exists, so long will it be 
true that neither of them will sponsor anything approaching 
a labour or social-democratic programme; nor will either 
interfere greatly with the tariff structure behind which 
Canadian industry has grown up. 

An acute observer of Canadian affairs, M. Andre Sieg¬ 
fried, has left a description of the Liberal and Conservative 
parties as he saw them in 1906. 1 It still is relevant despite 
the passage of a generation. The parties are constituted, 
he points out, on the British model with British names, but 
their methods of controlling constituencies and the tone of 
their polemics are derived from the United States. They are 
quite detached from the principles which gave them birth, 
and tend to become mere associations for the securing of 
power. Whichever side succeeds, it is well known that the 
country will be governed in much the same way. Canadian 
statesmen stand in fear of great movements of opinion, and 
seek to lull them rather than to encourage them and bring 
them to fruition. They fear that the unity of the Dominion 
will be endangered if vital questions are raised, and exert 
themselves to prevent the formation of homogeneous parties 
divided according to creed or race or class. The result is 
that Liberals and Conservatives differ very little in their 
opinions upon crucial questions, since they are both made up 
of the same varied elements; employers and labourers, 
townsmen and farmers, French and English, Catholics and 
Protestants. 2 Despite this similarity of programme and be¬ 
haviour, the parties are sacred institutions to be forsaken 
only at the risk of one’s reputation and career. It is rarely 
indeed that a Canadian politician shifts his party allegiance. 

While this situation is open to attack by the political 
scientist, it is understandable in view of the varied elements 
and interests within Canada. The major parties provide a 
political facade which covers up the ill-joined sections under¬ 
neath, and by so doing create a certain spirit of unity, some¬ 
times more apparent than real, even where there is little 

iSiegfried, A., The Race Question in Canada (London, 1907), pp. 141 ff. 

2The Liberal programme of 1919 and the Conservative programme of 1927 are to be 
found in Dawson, op. cit. Their similarity is striking. 


basis for it. At times the cracks are evident even through 
the facade. 


In 1935 Social Credit suddenly became a force in Canadian 
politics. With no previous record of steady growth and little 
warning of its coming power, it placed Mr. Aberhart in office 
in Alberta in the provincial elections of 1935, and sent seven¬ 
teen members to the Dominion House of Commons to be¬ 
come the third largest group at Ottawa. It has attempted 
to spread its doctrine into other western provinces, with 
some slight success; two Saskatchewan constituencies were 
won in the federal elections of 1935 and 5 Manitoban seats 
in the provincial elections of 1936. The party, however, 
failed to elect a member in the British Columbia elections 
of 1937, and, despite an organized “invasion” from Alberta, 
won only two seats in the recent Saskatchewan elections. 1 

The economic proposals of Social Credit have been found 
impossible of application in Alberta. Its opponents ascribe 
this to their inherent falsity; Mr. Aberhart ascribes it to 
the opposition of the eastern bankers and their “tools” at 
Ottawa. The disallowance of three Albertan statutes by the 
Dominion government in 1937, and the setting aside of three 
others in 1938 by the Canadian Supreme Court, 2 indicate 
that both Liberal party policy and the B. N. A. Act stand 
in the way of any thorough attempt at this particular eco¬ 
nomic experiment in a single Canadian province. 

It would be unwise, however, to assume that either Mr. 
Aberhart or Social Credit is politically finished by this 
rebuff. The movement is at bottom an agrarian revolt in 
the west against the financial and commercial policies of the 
east (Montreal and Toronto). “It is the fundamental feeling 
of dissatisfaction with national fiscal policies which have 
placed burdens upon agriculture for the benefit of secondary 

iResults of the Saskatchewan election of June 8, 1938, in 50 of the 52 seats, were: 

Liberal C.C.F. Social Credit Conservative Other 

Number of members. 36 10 2 0 2 

Percentage of vote. 46 19 15 12 8 

Percentage of vote, 1934... 48 24 0 27 1 

20n the ground that the laws infringed the exclusive Dominion power to regulate banks 
and banking, currency, and interprovincial trade and commerce. An appeal has been taken 
to the Privy Council. See (1938) 2 D.L.R., p. 81. 



industry; and it is also the deep agrarian hatred of high 
interest rates, mortgages and debt.” 1 These underlying 
causes are not removed by disproving the A plus B theorem. 
Mr. Aberhart is capable of reviving a lagging support by 
adopting a new line of attack, as he did in 1936 with his debt 
reduction legislation; he is not likely to be displaced until 
some other party appears equally concerned to protect the 
farmers' interests. 


In 1932 an attempt was made to unite farmer and labour 
movements in Canada under one political banner. Their 
common interests vis-a-vis an economic system becoming 
increasingly monopolistic were growing clear to many of 
their supporters, and a conference in Calgary in that year 
succeeded in forming an alliance between delegates repre¬ 
senting nearly all the local farmer and labour parties of the 
four western provinces. 2 The name Co-operative Common¬ 
wealth Federation was chosen, to symbolize a federation of 
parties working together for a Canadian co-operative com¬ 
monwealth. The leadership was placed in the hands of 
J. S. Woodsworth, veteran social reformer and labour repre¬ 
sentative from Winnipeg. In 1933 a number of “white- 
collar” and professional people joined the movement and a 
party manifesto was issued with a programme calling for a 
regulated economy based on wide public ownership of finan¬ 
cial institutions and industries. The C.C.F. takes as its 
models the labour parties of other parts of the Common¬ 
wealth and of the Scandinavian countries. 

The party has had some electoral success. It polled 
400,000 votes in the general election of 1935, 3 despite the 
sudden emergence into the political arena of two new protest 
parties—Social Credit and the Reconstruction party. It is 

iFerguson, G. V., “Economic and Political Outlook of the Canadian West”, in Anderson, 
Violet (ed.), World Currents and Canada's Course , p. 115. 

2The original groups represented at the Conference which launched the C.C.F. were 
the United Farmers of Alberta, the United Farmers of Canada (Saskatchewan section), 
the Canadian Labour Party of Alberta, the Independent Labour Party and Co-operative 
Labour Party of Saskatchewan, the Independent Labour Party of Manitoba, the Socialist 
Party of Canada (British Columbia) and the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees. 

3In that election the Liberals polled 47 per cent, of the popular vote, the Conservatives 
30 per cent., the C.C.F. 9 per cent., the Reconstruction party 9 per cent., and the Social 
Credit party 4 per cent. 

the official opposition in Saskatchewan and was for three 
years in British Columbia, though in each case the groups 
were small. Twenty-seven C.C.F. members were sitting 
in Canadian legislatures in 1937, of whom seven were at 
Ottawa. The party suffered, however, at first from internal 
dissensions and later, when these were overcome, from its 
lack of ability to create an organization and to raise funds. 
The inability of most international trades unions to take part 
in politics bars this form of support, 1 and the Catholic clergy 
in Quebec have warned their flock against the C.C.F. on the 
ground that no one can be both a Catholic and a socialist, 
thus making progress in Quebec almost impossible. At the 
present moment the movement is largely western, being 
strongest in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 
with small organized groups in Ontario, Quebec and New 




The Communist party has been organized in Canada since 
1924. It became nationally important after its eight leaders 
were imprisoned in 1931, but since their release has made 
little headway. Its existence provides Quebec authorities 
with an excuse for adopting reactionary laws, although its 
programme of activity at the moment is of the popular front 
variety. Its influence, particularly amongst the foreign-born 
worker group in Canada, however, has been considerable. 
Only one Communist has every succeeded in getting elected 
to a Canadian legislature, 2 although Tim Buck, the national 
secretary, always polls a substantial vote in the civic elec¬ 
tions in Toronto. 

The Reconstruction party was organized by the Honour¬ 
able H.. H. Stevens just before the 1935 elections, with a 
programme of progressive Conservatism much like that of 
Mr. Bennett. Mr. Stevens had been Mr. Bennett’s Minister 
of Trade and Commerce but resigned in 1935 after a dispute 
with his chief. Though polling a substantial vote, the party 
returned its founder as its sole representative to Ottawa. 
Since then it has not functioned as a political machine, and 
the split with the Conservative party is likely to be healed. 

iThere are signs that this attitude is changing in Canada as in the United States. 
2In Manitoba. 



Another important political movement in Canada is the 
Union Nationale in Quebec. But this is part of the wider 
subject of French-Canadian nationalism, and will be dealt 
with in the following chapter. 


The political situation in Canada is not stable. Its two 
outstanding characteristics at the moment are the unco¬ 
operative attitude of the provincial governments of Quebec, 
Ontario and Alberta, and the inactivity of the Dominion 
authorities in face of grave national problems. The three 
provincial premiers “steal all the headlines”, while Ottawa 
is waiting for reports from its numerous Royal Commissions. 
So far has sectionalism developed that the Royal Com¬ 
mission on Dominion-Provincial Relations, faced with the 
most important national task of any public body in Canada 
since confederation, has not been able to secure even a 
promise of co-operation from all the provinces. The absence 
of a firm leadership from Ottawa leaves the sense of national 
unity voiceless and unorganized against the attacks of pro¬ 
vincial autonomists. Between the laissez-faire Dominion 
government on the right wing and the scattered forces of 
the political left, is a wide area of dissatisfied citizens not 
knowing where to turn. A sense of direction is wanting, and 
none can predict whence it will come. 




HE French Canadians in Canada now number about 

X 3,300,000. They form the most homogeneous and united 
group in the country, for they are not divided by reli¬ 
gion or racial origin, and their upper governing class is not 
in control of great wealth and hence far removed from the 
mass of the people. Moreover, their sense of being ringed 
round by an alien civilization makes them subordinate their 
inner differences to the single racial purpose of self-preserva¬ 
tion. Their home is the province of Quebec, where 78 per 
cent, of those in Canada live (the number in the United 
States is variously estimated at 13^ to 3 millions); but the 
spread into other provinces is proceeding steadily. In 1871 
only 14 per cent, of the French Canadians lived outside 
Quebec; in 1931, 22 per cent. did. Their percentage of the 
provincial populations in 1931 was: Quebec, 79; New Bruns¬ 
wick, 33.5; Prince Edward Island, 14.7; Nova Scotia, 11; 
Ontario, 8.7; Manitoba, 6.7; Saskatchewan, 5.5; Alberta, 
5.2; British Columbia and territories, 2.2. These figures 
show the strong eastern concentration of the race. 


The French Canadian in a real sense is the truest Cana¬ 
dian. He has lived on the soil for three hundred years, and 
the family ties with another world have long been broken. 
To Canada alone does he feel attached, for England con¬ 
quered him and France first deserted him and then travelled 
a political and spiritual road his clergy have taught him to 
abhor. He sees no help coming from without; he knows he 
must build upon his own resources. And when he thinks of 
“Canada”, he seldom, like the English Canadian, pictures a 
“dominion stretching from sea to sea”; rather he looks to 
the province of Quebec and the valley of the St. Lawrence, 





the part of North America to which the word “Canada” was 
first applied. To the English Canadian this is mere provin¬ 
cialism; to him, it is nationalism and true patriotism. 1 He 
builds outward from his securely held position and does not 
attempt to embrace the rest of a continent where now there 
are only a few outposts of his race. 

Because of this basis to his politics, the French Canadian 
looks upon both the Commonwealth connection and con¬ 
federation in much the same way; they are both political 
ties with the English which are part of his historic destiny. 
He cannot avoid them; he does not, at the moment, wish to 
break them, but they do not command his warm allegiance. 
Both represent a mariage de convenance. The British con¬ 
nection is valuable to him in helping to fend off Americaniza¬ 
tion, and the monarchic tradition is naturally dear to a 
priesthood fearful of democracy. Confederation was the 
best bargain that he could make at the time with a Pro¬ 
testant majority; to him the B. N. A. Act is as much a 
“treaty between races” as a political constitution. 2 In the 
historic evolution of his relationship with English Canada, 
which he views as a continuous development, the confedera¬ 
tion arrangement is neither evocative of particular loyalty 
nor suggestive of great permanence. 3 His political status has 
already been changed five times—by the cession of 1763, 
the Quebec Act of 1774, the Constitutional Act of 1791, the 
Act of Union of 1840 and the B. N. A. Act of 1867. When¬ 
ever the next change comes, he is determined that it will 
result in no loss of privileges or autonomy for himself. 

Such is the general character of French-Canadian nationa¬ 
lism, and it will be recognized as the natural aspiration of a 
people who believe in themselves and who are determined 
to survive with their language, their traditions and their 
religion. From time to time, however, and more particularly 
of recent years, there has arisen an extremer form of nationa- 

1A leader of the more moderate nationalists, Mr. L. M. Gouin, K.C., has said “We 
Quebecers ... do not put Ottawa above Quebec. ... If we have to choose between the 
Confederation and our own nationality, we refuse to sacrifice the soul of our race either 
to the Dominion or to the Empire”.,- Anderson, Violet (ed.), World Currents and Canada's 
Course (Toronto, 1937), p. 124. 

2See Brossard, R., “The Working of Co» federation”, Canadian Journal of Economics 
and Political Science, 1937, p. 335. 

3See Siegfried, Canada , pp. 258, 263; Hudon, Tb4ophile, Est-ce la Fin de la Confedera¬ 
tion? (Montreal, 1936), pp. 18 ff. 


list fervour, which resembles closely the movements which 
have swept over Ireland and other European countries where 
there is a racial group struggling for freedom. This spirit 
manifests itself in economic as well as political forms; it 
seeks immediate steps toward independence for the race, 
and it is intolerant of alien groups and alien rights. In 
Quebec such a movement is now running strong. 1 It has 
been stimulated by the world depression, which caused great 
unemployment amongst French Canadians; by the growing 
awareness of the extent to which Quebec is dominated by 
English-Canadian and American “trusts” and financiers; by 
the fear of another imperialist war, and by the decadence 
of the old Liberal party machine which had governed the 
province without a break from 1896 to 1936. To some 
degree also it was fostered by certain of the clerical authori¬ 
ties, who saw in a revival of nationalism a means of fending 
off social unrest which might easily turn radical and begin 
to question the utility of the wealth and privileges possessed 
by the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec. 


Politically the nationalist movement has taken the form 
of the creation of a new provincial party, the Union Na- 
tionale, which has been in power since 1936, and which is 
pledged to give to the French Canadian the place in Con¬ 
federation which he feels has been denied him. Its leader is 
Maurice Duplessis, formerly leader of the provincial Con¬ 
servative party, who was politically astute enough to ride 
to power on the new wave of feeling which has swept the 
province in the past few years. His activities since taking 
office have been varied but always colourful. He and his 
fellow premiers, Mr. Hepburn of Ontario and Mr. Aberhart 
of Alberta, provide the only vigorous—if erratic—leadership 
to be found in Canadian politics today. 

Out of the Union Nationale has come some needed reform 
in the social legislation of the province. Collective labour 

iSee “Nationalism in French Canada”, Round Table , December, 1936; Lower, A. R. M., 
“External Policy and Internal Problems”, University of Toronto Quarterly, April, 1937, p. 3; 
Bovey, Wilfrid, “French Canada and the Problem of Quebec”, Nineteenth Century, January* 
1938, p. 731; Angus, H. F. (ed.), Canada and Her Great Neighbor (Toronto and New Haven’ 
1938), passim. 



agreements are favoured, co-operative institutions are being 
promoted, and collaboration with Ontario on minimum wage 
rates has been sought. The nationalist feeling has found 
expression in the attempts that have been made to give pre¬ 
eminence to the French language in the interpretation of 
laws, 1 to frighten workers away from the international 
unions, and to obstruct all efforts to amend the British 
North America Act. Behind the attack on international 
unionism, however, many people see something quite differ¬ 
ent from nationalism; a deeper motive seems to be the de¬ 
sire to prevent “communistic” ideas from entering the pro¬ 
vince and disturbing the religious and political views of the 
population. The “Padlock Act” and the growing censorship 
of films and literature are other weapons in the same of¬ 

In achieving its economic objectives French-Canadian 
nationalism is meeting great difficulties. It is only in recent 
years that the economic aspect of their position has engaged 
the attention of the nationalist leaders; the older generation, 
men like Bourassa and Lavergne, were concerned chiefly 
with political and religious affairs. The world depression 
shifted the emphasis to the economic. In Quebec the natural 
resources in mines, forests and water power, the banks and 
financial houses, are largely owned and exploited by English- 
Canadian or American capital; the French Canadian pro¬ 
vides the cheap labour, usually lacking trades union pro¬ 
tection. The nationalists of today are determined that this 
situation shall change, and that in their own province they 
shall not be restricted to exercising a political power rendered 
helpless by the existence of concentrated economic power in 
other hands. With this determination many English Cana¬ 
dians, only too aware of the situation in Quebec in regard to 
living standards and social legislation, would warmly sym¬ 
pathize. The difficulty is to decide upon a practical policy 
for effecting a change, and here the nationalists are at the 
moment baffled. A straightforward socialist programme 
would give them the control they want, for the state could 

iBy a statute adopted in 1937 the French version of statutes and codes was made to 
prevail whenever it differed from the English. The law was repealed in 1938 because of 
its unsettling effect on the established interpretation of the law and because of its doubtful 
constitutionality in view of section 133 of the B.N.A. Act. 


then expropriate the “foreign” (i.e. non-French) capital and 
place French Canadians in charge of their own state-con- 
trolled utilities. But socialism at the moment stands 
condemned by the clergy of Quebec. Consequently the 
nationalist movement is in an impasse; it must risk clerical 
censure or else continue to submit to economic inferiority. 
So far it has avoided the first alternative, and has had to 
content itself with such measures as compelling foreign 
corporations developing natural resources to take out pro¬ 
vincial charters, beginning a tentative programme of hydro¬ 
electric development under state control, supporting “la 
petite Industrie in the small towns in the province, and 
stimulating the “achat chez nous ” which is the French- 
Canadian equivalent of a “buy British” campaign. It is 
impossible to predict how long these slender achievements 
will satisfy the demand for action. The drive against “com¬ 
munism” in Quebec, sponsored by the clergy, is a powerful 
deterrent to any proposals that the government should 
expropriate existing investments, for the accusation of 
“communist” would at once be hurled at any daring advo¬ 
cate of such an idea. 1 

The political and economic situation in Quebec is transi¬ 
tional. Much will change before a new equilibrium is found. 
The increasing urbanization and hence industrialization of 
the French-Canadian people, and the exploitation of their 
workers by corporations which they do not control, are pro¬ 
ducing fertile soil for a more radical movement among the 
masses than has yet appeared. For that reason the other 
parts of Canada are viewing with some alarm the growth of 
a fascist movement in the province, and the denial by the 
authorities of long-established constitutional rights of free¬ 
dom of the press, of speech, and of public meeting. The 
“Padlock Act”, aimed only at an undefined “communism”, 
is being enforced though communism in Quebec is in fact 
almost non-existent, while organized fascist parties are drill¬ 
ing members and distributing extreme anti-semitic propa¬ 
ganda without interference of any sort. The mass of the 

iMr. Duplessis, for example, was charged with following Russian and Mexican tactics 
by the Liberal opposition leader in Quebec simply because he ventured to remove some of 
the tolls from an important private bridge leading to the island of Montreal. 



people, there seems little doubt, do not favour the fascist 
movement, yet there are enough idle young men in the cities 
to give it considerable support, and enough approval by 
authorities in church and state of strong action against 
suspected “reds” to provide an atmosphere in which fascism 
can flourish. 1 Whatever may be the outcome, it will pro¬ 
foundly affect the whole Dominion, for the French exert an 
extremely powerful political influence at Ottawa. No na¬ 
tional policy can long be followed which does not receive 
considerable support from Quebec. 

iSee “Embryo Fascism in Quebec”, by “S.”, Foreign Affairs, April, 1938. 

W HEN the Dominion of Canada was created in 1867 
the federal form of government was preferred to the 
unitary state. The choice was due to the insistence 
of the French Canadians upon the preservation of their own 
laws, customs and traditions, and also to the strong local 
patriotism of the Maritime Provinces, which were sceptical 
of the wisdom of confederation. Racial divisions and sec¬ 
tional feelings thus became embedded in the governmental 
structure. The constitution as adopted, however, was more 
centralized than its American model, for civil war was 
raging to the south when the British North America Act was 
being framed, and the cause of the conflict seemed to the 
Canadian statesmen to lie in the doctrine of “states’ rights”. 
The United States had reserved to the states or to the people 
the residue of legislative power, leaving the central govern¬ 
ment with specified powers only. For Canada the reverse 
principle was consequently adopted; the federal parliament 
was given the residuary power over all matters of common 
interest to the whole country, leaving merely local matters 
to the provinces. It was expected that the Dominion would 
develop a greater unity on matters of national concern as 
time passed, and a greater uniformity even in the provincial 
laws relating to property and civil rights, in all the provinces 
except Quebec. 1 


This original concept, which is found clearly expressed in 
the writings and speeches of the framers of the constitution, 
was entrusted, after 1867, to the keeping of the courts. They 
had no easy task to perform. The vision of the statesmen 

iThis was the purpose of Sec. 94 of the B.N.A. Act, which has never been made use of 
since it was drafted. The opinions of various Canadian leaders of 1867 about the nature 
of Canadian federalism will be found collected in the brief presented by the League for 
Social Reconstruction to the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations, Janu¬ 
ary, 1938. 




had to be perceived in the dry language of the lawyers, and 
a just balance maintained between the growing needs of the 
central authorities and the legitimate autonomy of the pro¬ 
vinces. The problem was comparatively simple with sub¬ 
jects which fell within the more clearly defined sections of 
the B. N. A. Act, under such headings as “solemnization of 
matrimony”, “banking”, “telegraphs” or the “constitution 
of the courts”. It became very difficult with the new sub¬ 
jects of legislation which emerged as the state embarked 
more and more upon schemes of social security and economic 
control. How are statutes dealing with minimum wages, 
unemployment insurance, marketing, old age pensions, to 
be classified? They were not enumerated in the original 
document, drafted in the heyday of laissez-faire . They had 
to be placed within some of the more general phrases in the 
Act. Of these, three were the most likely receptacles—the 
Dominion residuary power over matters affecting the “peace, 
order and good government of Canada”, the Dominion power 
to regulate “trade and commerce”, and the provincial juris¬ 
diction over “property and civil rights in the province”. 
None of these powers is precise; the legal interpretation 
might just as well have favoured any one as any other. Yet 
ever since the end of the last century the courts, led by the 
Privy Council, have favoured the solitary provincial power, 
with few exceptions. Thus laws relating to insurance, con¬ 
trolling the distribution of liquor, regulating provincial 
marketing and price fixing, providing arbitration in indus¬ 
trial disputes, fixing minimum wages, maximum hours and 
conditions of employment, establishing unemployment in¬ 
surance, controlling the production of natural gas, and even 
giving effect to international conventions relating to pro¬ 
vincial matters, have all been held to fall within the “pro¬ 
perty and civil rights” clause. The Dominion trade and 
commerce clause has never yet, by itself, supported a single 
piece of Dominion legislation. The Dominion residuary 
clause has been narrowed down almost to the vanishing 
point by the development of the judicial doctrine that it 
could be invoked only amidst war, pestilence or famine. It 
can now be said that the residuary power in Canada is vested 



in the provinces, except in a national emergency more grave 
than anything experienced during all the calamities of the 
world crisis which began in 1929. 

So great an alteration of the original statute would scarcely 
have taken place had the final authority for interpreting the 
constitution been a Canadian court. Canadian judges were 
living in the environment out of which the B. N. A. Act 
grew; they knew its purpose, and understood the meaning 
of its terms. When the Supreme Court of Canada was 
created in 1875 it was hoped that few if any appeals would 
be taken thereafter to the Judicial Committee of the Privy 
Council, but events were to prove the contrary. The appeal 
of right from the new Supreme Court was barred, but 
appeals by special leave, or prerogative appeals, were con¬ 
tinued. The Minister of Justice and most members of the 
Dominion parliament who took part in the debate on the 
Supreme Court Bill were in favour of abolishing all appeals, 
but it was recognized that this would require imperial legis¬ 
lation. 1 A British court thus became the arbiter of Canadian 
constitutional growth. The early decisions of the Canadian 
judges and of the Supreme Court on the Canadian constitu¬ 
tion were imbued with a spirit of national unity quite at 
variance with the concept of the Dominion as a loose federa¬ 
tion of sovereign states which later prevailed in the Privy 
Council, and which has perforce come to be the accepted, 
because it was the final, statement of the law. By an histori¬ 
cal accident, the reverse of that which gave a John Marshall 
to the American Supreme Court, the Judicial Committee 
was dominated for two periods totalling thirty years by two 
men who consistently favoured provincial sovereignty— 
Lords Watson and Haldane. Of Lord Watson, Lord Haldane 
himself has written: “He completely altered the tendency of 
the decisions of the Supreme Court. ... In a series of 
masterly judgments he expounded and established the real 
constitution of Canada”. 2 Of Lord Haldane it can be said 

lThe clause barring the appeal as of right was strongly objected to by the imperial law 
officers, but the Canadian government refused to withdraw it and the Bill was not dis¬ 
allowed. See article by Lucien Cannon, K.C., in 1925 Canadian Bar Review , 455. 

2See Juridical Review, 1899, p. 279. Lord Haldane repeated his praises of Lord Watson’s 
creative work for Canada in his Education and Empire (1902), pp. 138-9, and in an article 
in the Cambridge Law Journal, 1922, cited 1930 Canadian Bar Review , p. 438. See also 
speeches of Hon. C. H. Cahan and Rt. Hon. Ernest Lapointe, Canada, House of Commons 
Debates (unrevised), April 8, 1938, pp. 2336-53. 




that he followed faithfully in the Watsonian tradition. 
The actual number of overrulings of the Canadian Supreme 
Court are not many, but they occur in matters of crucial 
importance; many important cases also have gone direct to 
London from provincial courts of appeal. It was the Judicial 
Committee which (1) made the Dominion residuary clause 
an emergency power only, (2) reduced the trade and com¬ 
merce clause to a secondary position, (3) gave provincial 
corporations capacity to do business throughout the country, 
(4) set aside the Dominion Industrial Disputes Investigation 
Act, (5) gave treaty legislation in part to the provinces. 
Moreover, the Supreme Court, once the Privy Council has 
decided, must follow the decision as best it can in future 
cases. The constitutional difficulties in which Canada finds 
herself today are due less to defects in the original constitu¬ 
tion than to a persistent pro-provincial bias which has 
permeated, with few exceptions, the English interpretations 
of the Canadian constitution. 1 



The disturbance in the legal equilibrium established in 
1867 has produced a parallel disturbance in the Dominion- 
provincial financial relations which were built upon that 
equilibrium. Under the original constitution it seemed that 
the provinces would need only moderate incomes since all 
matters of national import were allotted to the Dominion; 
the taxing powers of the provincial authorities were conse¬ 
quently limited to “direct” taxation, and they were given 
annual subsidies to be paid from Dominion revenues and 
intended to be fixed for all time. The increase in provincial 
powers, however, coming at a time when the people were 
demanding more and more services from governments, 
meant that the provinces had to assume the new duties and 
hence involved large increases in provincial expenditures. 
Today the Canadian provinces, having won the constitu¬ 
tional battles, find themselves overburdened with charges 
which many of them can no longer meet out of revenues. In 

lThe principal exceptions are aeronautics and radio. 



their keeping now are the sick, the unemployed, the aged 
poor, the needy mothers, the orphans and the industrially 
exploited, as well as control of trade and commerce in the 

Each province decides for itself how far it will meet these 
burdens. The Dominion cannot control provincial spending. 
On the other hand it can scarcely allow any of the provinces 
to go bankrupt. The situation is thus most unsatisfactory. 
Several Dominion-provincial conferences met to deal with 
the problem but disbanded without reaching a settlement. 
The Liberal government in 1936 introduced a bill to amend 
the B. N. A. Act by creating a “loan council” after the 
Australian model, but withdrew it later in face of provincial 
opposition. Meanwhile, temporary escape from the necessity 
of a solution was found in the extension of Dominion “loans” 
to needy provinces; these had reached a total of $132,000,000 
by March 31, 1937. 1 Finally, a Royal Commission under 
the chairmanship of the Hon. N. W. Rowell was appointed 
in the summer of 1937 to study and report generally on the 
relations between the Dominion and the provinces. When its 
report is ready Canada will have to decide in which constitu¬ 
tional direction she wishes to travel—toward greater central¬ 
ism or toward a looser federalism. She has not yet faced her 
constitutional difficulties as boldly as have her two sister 
federations, the United States and Australia. 

From the point of view of Canada’s international position 
the most serious consequence of the legal interpretations of 
the B. N. A. Act has been the splitting asunder of the 
Dominion’s treaty-making power. The decision of the Privy 
Council in 1937 on this point virtually destroyed the achieve¬ 
ments of the previous twenty years of nation building. Can¬ 
ada has now the right to act as an independent nation in the 
world society, but the power to fulfil that role has been 
denied her. She can make treaties, but may not be able to 
enforce them, unless they can be classed as “empire” trea¬ 
ties under Section 132 of the B. N. A. Act, and this appears 
to be a highly restricted category. Other treaties must now 
be allotted to the Dominion or provincial parliaments, like 

1 Canada Year Book, 1937, p. 36. 



ordinary statutes, in accordance with the judicial ideas as 
to the nature of the subjects covered by them. No other 
autonomous country is so handicapped. Canadian plenipo¬ 
tentiaries appointed by Ottawa, or by London on Ottawa’s 
advice, may still meet foreign diplomats to plan international 
action but cannot give binding assurances that the treaty 
arrived at will be enforced, since the enforcement in some 
cases rests with the provinces. No doubt some classes of 
treaty will seem clearly to fall within the Dominion field, 
but there will always be an element of doubt which only the 
courts can clarify. It would be necessary for plenipotenti¬ 
aries from each of the nine provincial governments to be 
present at negotiations in order to be certain that the 
Dominion would not be left in default, as she is at the 
moment in regard to the three labour conventions ratified 
by Mr. Bennett but the implementing of which has been 
declared by the Privy Council to rest with the provinces. 1 

The hopes of the statesmen of 1867 for a strong united 
Canada have been only partially fulfilled. In the realm of 
material things their faith was justified. Large commercial, 
industrial and financial undertakings now operate on a 
national scale within the free trade area of the Dominion. 
Railways, banks, insurance companies and the principal 
agencies of manufacture and distribution, have their head 
offices in Montreal or Toronto and an administrative organi¬ 
zation that reaches from coast to coast. They cover the 
geographical and racial diversities with an economic uni¬ 
formity. The inhabitants of Halifax, Montreal and Van¬ 
couver draw cheques on the same banks, buy the same 
insurance policies, mortgage their houses to the same trust 
companies, ride in the same cars, drink the same whisky, 
eat the same canned goods and smoke the same cigarettes. 
But while Canadian economic concentration has been de¬ 
veloping, her constitutional unity has been steadily deterio¬ 
rating as a result of legal interpretation. The business 

effect ® of Privy Council decision (A. G. for Canada v. A. G. for Ontario, [1937] 
A. C. 326) see articles in Canadian Bar Review , June, 1937; the Canadian Journal of Eco¬ 
nomics and Political Science, May, 1937; the Round Table, September, 1937; also Daggett, 
A- P ’ ,eaty Legislation in Canada”, Canadian Bar Review, March, 1938; Jennings, 
W. Ivor, Constitutional Interpretation—The Experience of Canada”, Harvard Law Re¬ 
view, November, 1937; brief submitted to the Rowell Commission by League of Nations 
Society, January, 1938. 



leaders and modern science have been subduing geography 
while the judges have been expanding provincial sovereignty. 

Hence there is a conflict between the economic and the 
legal realities in Canada. The large corporations cannot be 
effectively controlled in the public interest by nine provincial 
legislatures, while their efficiency is hampered by the multi¬ 
tude of varying and vexatious laws and taxes to which they 
are subject. The Dominion, on the other hand, is incom¬ 
petent to meet concentrated economic power with an equal 
political authority, or to provide remedies for economic 
problems which are essentially national in scope. This fail¬ 
ure of the Dominion to act produces, by a curiously inverse 
process, a greater degree of provincialism and sectional 
feeling, for the economic policies formulated by the financiers 
and industrialists in the east have borne heavily upon the 
extremities of the Dominion and upon the agricultural ex¬ 
porters, who complain they are sacrificed to the money power 
and who blame Ottawa for tolerating the exploitation. Thus 
is the vicious circle complete: less power at Ottawa means 
more power to big business in the east; this results in less 
attention to the needs of the Maritimes and the west, which 
creates sectional demands for compensation and encourages 
attempts at local solutions. In the long run the “depressed 
areas” may come to realize that their only hope lies not in 
local but in national action, which will subordinate the in¬ 
terests of eastern industry to the needs of the national 
economy; but a suspicion that Ottawa will always be 
dominated by the east undermines confidence in so-called 
“national” policies and hence in national powers. 

Thus to the separatist and divisive influences of geography, 
race and religion must now be added the disintegrating force 
of provincial sovereignty. Canada has made slow progress 
in the task of nation-building, and in recent years has lost 
constitutional ground. To the Quebec nationalists, the 
Privy Council has been a fairy godmother; they can now 
ask for an increase in French minority rights in return for a 
surrender of their new provincial autonomy. Only recently, 
because of the greater need for governmental action, has the 
seriousness of the constitutional situation been appreciated, 



but already the sectional feeling is so strong that the political 
problem of securing amendments to the B. N. A. Act appears 
almost insurmountable. Bold leadership and a statesmanlike 
appeal for co-operation will be needed if sectionalism is to 
be overcome, and of these there is at the moment little 



P REVIOUS chapters in this volume have disclosed the 
divisions within Canada. These have been emphasized 
because they provide a key to the understanding of most 
Canadian problems. Nevertheless Canada, the single 
country, is still a fact. Over the longer period a sense of 
national unity has been steadily growing within the Domin¬ 
ion, despite the many obstacles which it has had to overcome. 
It is shown in innumerable ways, some visible to the out¬ 
sider, others felt and understood only by those who have 
lived and travelled in the country. The historical back¬ 
ground to Canadian life is both rich and deep, and its record 
of endeavour and achievement makes for a community of 
feeling between different sections and groups. A native art 
movement, springing from the “Group of Seven” who 
started painting just before the world war, has made the 
beauty of the Canadian landscape part of the national con¬ 
sciousness. The radio, the aeroplane, the railways, the 
motor-car and the telephone have reduced the vast size of 
the country to manageable proportions. There are numbers 
of organized movements and associations, from political 
parties to learned societies, from chambers of commerce to 
athletic clubs, which operate on a national basis within the 
Dominion. All these are symptoms of nationhood. Canada’s 
participation in the world war, and subsequently in the work 
of the League of Nations and in the achievement of Domin¬ 
ion status, stimulated very greatly the sense of nationality. 
The economic depression gave it a setback by creating in¬ 
ternal strains and accentuating sectional and class differ¬ 
ences; a Social Credit Alberta and a nationalist Quebec 
appear less integrally part of Canada than were those sec¬ 
tions before these political changes occurred. Few people 
believe, however, that such sectionalism as now exists, 




strong though it undoubtedly is, creates any real threat to 
the continued existence of confederation. 

The attitude of Canadians toward the United States is a 
gauge of their own sense of national solidarity. It is when 
Canadians feel most insecure that they are most fearful of the 
American influence. A very considerable suspicion, even 
dislike, of the United States and its constant 41 Americaniza¬ 
tion'' of Canada exists in certain sections of Canadian opin¬ 
ion. The more Catholic and the more British parts of 
Canada in particular look upon the United States as a 
“materialistic” nation whose luxury and extravagant be¬ 
haviour are in danger of tempting the honest Canadian away 
from his simple and sober manner of living. Sometimes 
special interests exploit this antipathy to achieve a particular 
object, as when high protectionists fought the reciprocity 
treaty in 1911 on the ground that they were saving Canada 
from annexation, or employers wishing to preserve the open 
shop attacked Mr. Lewis and the C. I. O. in 1937 under the 
guise of helping Canadian labour to save itself from American 
domination. The anti-American feeling has declined in 
recent years, however, and the decline is an indication that 
Canadians have matured to the point where they no longer 
fear the loss of their identity on the American continent. 

The feeling of a Canadian nationality is shared in some 
degree by most of the French Canadians. For many of them 
(as has been pointed out) the concept does not extend be¬ 
yond their own race, even their own province. Even these, 
however, unless they are separatists, accept the idea of a com¬ 
mon Canadian nationality, with a dual language and a dual 
culture, as a proper basis of association with their English- 
speaking fellow-citizens. The French Canadians, indeed, 
were the first to make this idea a normal part of their political 
thinking. English Canadians have been inclined to look upon 
Canada as an entirely British country with “one language 
and one flag” (in fact it has neither) and to think of French 
Canada, whenever they considered it at all, as an unavoid¬ 
able and geographically restricted exception to the otherwise 
happy uniformity. In recent years this attitude has begun 
to change. A number of English-speaking Canadians have 


moved closer to the French-Canadian position. Imperialist 
sentiment of the old sort has declined while the concept of 
Canada as an autonomous North American nation has 
grown. This concept is equally valid for both French and 
English. As the French Canadian expands his vision to in¬ 
clude the whole of Canada and not merely the province of 
Quebec, and as the English Canadian ceases to think of 
Canada simply as the British part of North America and 
accepts it, with all its racial variation, as his prime allegi¬ 
ance, they both find they tread on common ground. In a 
real sense it is true that only in so far as Canada obtains full 
control over her own foreign policy can she become a united 
country internally. “The only common denominator [be¬ 
tween French and English] seems to be a common allegiance 
to a common country.” 1 

These factors explain why the possibility of another world 
war, in which Canada might be expected to take part on the 
side of Great Britain, contains so great a danger for Cana¬ 
dian national unity. The French Canadian feels no obliga¬ 
tion or desire to take part in any European wars. His fear 
that because he is part of the Dominion he will inevitably 
be dragged into all such wars makes him view his political 
connection with English Canadians with the greatest suspi¬ 
cion, and makes him feel that the English Canadian is not a 
true Canadian at all. 2 The Conscription Act of 1917 was 
not applied in Quebec without bloodshed, and any future 
attempt to force French Canadians overseas to fight will be 
resisted much more strongly, particularly if by some chance 
Great Britain were to be fighting against Italy or with Soviet 
Russia as an ally. Nor will such resistance be confined by 
any means to French Canadians. A very large proportion 
of the 2,000,000 Canadians who are neither French nor 
British do not understand an allegiance divided between 
Canada and the Commonwealth. Not even all the British 
blood in Canada will wish to fight abroad, unless the issue 
at stake is something deeper than a balance of power in 

iLower, A. R. M., in Canada , The Empire and the League (Proceedings of Canadian In¬ 
stitute on Economics and Politics, Lake Couchiching, Ontario, 1936) (Toronto, 1936), p. 111. 

2It is significant that the French word for English-Canadian is “Anglais ”; for himself, 
it is “Canadien 



Europe. An increasing number of Canadians of all racial 
origins are coming to the belief that Canada must have the 
constitutional right to complete neutrality in future British 
wars, so that whatever course will best preserve the unity 
of the country may be freely taken. The growth of this idea 
is another indication of the growth of the Canadian national 



T HE defence of a country is both a political and a mili¬ 
tary problem. On the political side it means the main¬ 
tenance of good relations with other countries so as to 
avoid conflicts if possible and to settle those that arise before 
they reach the stage of war. This should be the first aim of 
defence policy in any state not determined upon a pro¬ 
gramme of aggressive expansion. Military force enters prin¬ 
cipally when diplomacy has failed, though between states 
which distrust one another military force will exert a potent 
influence upon diplomacy and may have a deterrent effect 
on hostile aggression. Once the military have taken charge 
of operations, defence becomes a matter of defeating any 
opposing forces likely to be met on the field of battle. 


Canada has not yet developed her machinery for the con¬ 
duct of international affairs to the same point as other self- 
governing nations. She has diplomatic representatives in 
three foreign countries only—the United States, Japan and 
France. 1 She has a High Commissioner in London, and an 
Advisory Officer at Geneva. Canadian relations with other 
states, such as Germany, Italy, Poland, the Soviet Union 
and China, are conducted through the British Foreign Office 
and its diplomatic and consular channels, or through foreign 
consuls in Canada. Canada is better able to supervise her 
commercial relations, since Canadian trade commissioners 
exist in twenty-five countries. 2 In the countries where 
Canada has a minister of her own she has the machinery for 
settling disputes by negotiation. Where she has no minis¬ 
ter her relations with a country depend largely on the 
attitude of the British government and its representative, 

lAt the time of writing, the government is proposing to establish legations at Brussels 
and The Hague with a single minister in charge of both. 

2See list in Canada Year Book, 1937, pp. 495-7. 




who has other than Canadian interests to protect. Even 
where Canada has her own representatives she cannot by 
diplomatic action avoid wars if, as seems to be the case, she 
has no right to neutrality in the event of Great Britain de¬ 
ciding to resort to war. The Canadian minister at Tokyo, 
for example, might succeed in preventing any dangerous 
issue arising between Japan and Canada, and yet if the 
British ambassador to Tokyo were withdrawn and an 
Anglo-Japanese war begun the Canadian minister would 
have to be recalled and Canada exposed immediately to 
attack on the Pacific coast. In countries like Germany, 
where there is no Canadian representative, the recall of the 
British Ambassador would leave Canadian citizens totally 
unprotected regardless of whether Canada was directly con¬ 
cerned in the dispute or not. Canada can, it is true, bring 
some influence to bear upon the British government as to 
the conduct of its policy (an influence perhaps commensur¬ 
ate with the degree of responsibility Canada is prepared to 
assume), but the principle of equality of status has not yet 
been fully applied to the conduct of foreign affairs. Canadian 
diplomatic defences are thus incomplete. 


The problem of military defence for Canada is being ac¬ 
tively discussed at the present time. It will be considered 
here, first from the point of view of home defence, and 
secondly from the point of view of co-operation in wider 
defence arrangements with other powers. 

The traditional view of the problem of defence, still widely 
held in Canada, is that the British navy is Canada’s pro¬ 
tection against external aggression. More recently it has 
become usual to point to the United States navy and the 
Monroe Doctrine as safe-guarding Canadian soil, particu¬ 
larly from attack across the Pacific. Both these views are 
obviously true in part, for while these fleets command the 
north Atlantic and the north-east Pacific they are bars to 
any large-scale invasion of Canada from Europe or from 
Asia; nevertheless, they suffer from over-simplification. It 
is more nearly correct to say that, by providing herself with 



coastal defences well within her own capacity to maintain, 
Canada can defend herself against any scale of attack which 
can reasonably be anticipated at the present time without 
having to rely upon other people’s aid. What the distant 
future may bring is, of course, another matter. 

Canada’s security from the danger of armed invasion de¬ 
pends on two factors—the present international situation 
and the natural advantages derived from geography. In 
most discussions of defence insufficient attention is paid to 
the first factor. Yet defence cannot be discussed in the 
abstract; defence means defence against particular powers 
or combinations of powers. It so happens that there are no 
powers which threaten to invade Canada. No South Ameri¬ 
can power is planning her conquest. It is no longer a part of 
Canadian defence policy to contemplate war with the United 
States: hence the famous undefended frontier. No Asiatic 
power except Japan is in an expansive and aggressive mood. 
Japan has both an “historic mission” and an actual commit¬ 
ment on the Asiatic mainland (besides the very real threat 
from the Soviet Union) sufficient to keep her occupied for 
an indefinite period. China is now defending Canada on the 
Pacific by keeping Canada’s only potential invader fully 

Europe is the only remaining continent from which an 
attack might be expected. Italy’s ambitions are clearly 
Mediterranean; if she ever looks to America, it will more 
likely be to South America. Germany is left. What are 
Germany’s ambitions? The Drang nach Osten is Canada’s 
immediate defence from that quarter. Not even Mein 
Kampf suggests Canada as a part of greater Germany. In 
any case Germany must establish an hegemony in Europe 
before she can safely begin any trans-Atlantic adventures; 
this means she must first dispose of the balance of power 
against her. Hence Russia and France are part of Canada’s 
defence at the present moment, quite as much as is Great 
Britain (whose recent policy, indeed, appears to many 
Canadians to be one of encouragement for Germany’s ex¬ 
pansion). Only if Germany and her fascist allies win the 
next European war and are not themselves destroyed by 




the victory would it be necessary for Canadian defence policy 
to contemplate the still remote possibility of an attack in 
force from Europe. 

Mr. Mackenzie King, in his statement to the House of 
Commons on foreign policy on May 24, 1938, expressed him¬ 
self as follows on this point: 

If we are unlikely of our own motion to take part in wars of conquest 
or wars of crusade, it is equally unlikely that at the moment, with the 
world as it is today, any other country will single out Canada for 
attack. The talk which one sometimes hears of aggressor countries 
planning to invade Canada and seize these tempting resources of ours 
is, to say the least, premature. It ignores our neighbours and our lack 
of neighbours; it ignores the strategic and transportation difficulties 
of transoceanic invasion; it ignores the vital fact that every aggressor 
has not only potential objects of its ambition many thousands of miles 
nearer which would be the object of any attack, but potential and 
actual rivals near at hand whom it could not disregard by launching 
fantastic expeditions across half the world. At present danger of 
attack upon Canada is minor in degree and second-hand in origin. It 
is against chance shots that we need immediately to defend ourselves. 
The truth of this is recognized in every country. What may develop 
no one can say. 1 

In addition to these political reasons why Canada is com¬ 
paratively secure at the moment, there are unusual geo¬ 
graphical obstacles in the path of any invader. Three 
thousand miles of Atlantic and four thousand of Pacific 
Ocean are the beginnings of his difficulties. Both the 
Atlantic and the Pacific coasts lend themselves to home 
defences. The St. Lawrence is not navigable in winter, and 
with buoys removed and mines laid would be exceedingly 
difficult to utilize for transport purposes in summer. Canada 
would be bound to have lengthy warning of any attempted 
attack in force. 2 The eastern points most in need of protec¬ 
tion are the harbours of the Maritimes, such as Halifax, 
Sydney and St. John; an army in control of these, however, 
is still separated from Montreal by 800 miles of barren 
country. The physical features of the Pacific coast are even 
more discouraging to the landing of any large force, though 

^Canada, House of Commons Debates (unrevised), May 24, 1938, p. 3439. 

2See Canadian Defence Quarterly, cited in MacKay and Rogers, op. cit., p. 181. 



they would lend themselves, if undefended, to the planting 
of bases for raiding. 1 

Military experts in Canada are consequently of the 
opinion that Canadian defence policy does not need to pre¬ 
pare for armed invasion. The utmost that need be expected 
at the moment are “minor attacks by combined sea, land 
and air forces, to destroy something of strategic or commer¬ 
cial value, or to secure an advanced base of operations, and 
this applies to coasts, to focal sea areas and to the preserva¬ 
tion of Canadian neutrality”, and also “sporadic hit and run 
raids by light cruisers or submarines to destroy our main 
ports and focal sea areas”. 2 

To deal with these minor attacks and sporadic raids, 
Canada is already preparing her coastal defences, both east 
and west. The technical details need not be considered here: 
in general the need is for fixed coastal batteries and anti¬ 
aircraft defences at such points as Halifax and Sydney on 
the Atlantic, Vancouver and Esquimalt on the Pacific; sea 
and air forces capable of searching out and destroying hostile 
craft and their temporary bases; and supporting infantry 
units ready to move quickly to threatened zones. Under the 
new and enlarged defence plans now being carried out these 
will be provided within the next three or four years. It is 
therefore true to say that Canada is preparing to meet and 
is fully capable of meeting her local defence requirements at 
the present time out of her own financial resources. It is 
also true, however, that her armaments industry is not yet 
able to manufacture the heavier equipment needed, and she 
must therefore purchase supplies from outside sources. At 
present most of the orders have been placed with English 
firms—with the consequence that the rapidity of defence 
development has been impeded by British rearmament 

Thus far, it will be observed, no reliance has been placed 
on those two particular guarantees of Canadian defence— 
the British navy and the Monroe Doctrine. Obviously their 

^ iFor a more extended discussion of these points see MacKay and Rogers, op. cit., Chap. 

2 Hon. Ian Mackenzie, Minister of National Defence, House of Commons Debates (unre¬ 
vised), March 24, 1938, p. 1793; see also, “Canuck”, “The Problems of Canadian Defence”, 
Canadian Defence Quarterly, April, 1938, p. 269. 

\ J 


existence is a still further safeguard for Canada. The ana¬ 
lysis just given makes these two additional factors, however, 
of more potential than immediate utility. When Japan has 
completed her campaign in China it is conceivable that she 
might be insane enough to look across the Pacific; at that 
moment the Monroe Doctrine and the American navy would 
become vitally important. That moment, however, is not in 
sight. The same is true of a threat from Germany. As for 
the British navy, it no doubt operates as a powerful check 
upon Hitler’s ambitions in Europe. So also does the French 
army, the Russian airfleet and whatever other European 
forces may be expected to line up against Germany in the 
next European war. The Royal navy is one element in a far 
wider picture. 

There are, it is true, individuals in Canada, many of them 
sincere, who are frightened by the current wave of militarism 
and who feel that an invasion of Canada is a real danger. 
The Toronto Star in February, 1938, published a doctored 
photograph of planes bombing the city of Toronto. It was 
not felt to be necessary to suggest whose planes they were or 
how they might be expected to return, Toronto being 4,000 
miles from Europe. Such propaganda makes the increase in 
defence estimates politically easier. Mr. King, despite his 
recent statement that Canada is under no threat of invasion, 
said in a radio address, on his return from the Imperial Con¬ 
ference of 1937, “Never imagine that to the overpopulated 
countries and under-nourished peoples of other continents, 
the countless attractions and limitless possibilities of Canada 
are unknown; or that, in some world holocaust, our country 
would escape the ‘terror by night’ or ‘the arrow that flieth 
by day’.” 1 In this atmosphere of vague impending doom, 
the general public seldom stops to ask which people are 
eyeing Canada, or how they plan to transport themselves to 
her shores. 

It is sometimes said that Canada is vitally concerned with 
keeping open the trade routes of the Atlantic, on account of 
her large overseas trade. The statement is obviously true 

l Crown and Commonwealth: An Address on the Coronation, the Imperial Conference, 
and visit to the Continent of Europe, delivered over the national network of the Canadian 
Broadcasting Corporation, Ottawa July 9, 1937 (Ottawa, King’s Printer, 1937), p. 15. 



up to a point. Canada’s foreign trade is essential to the 
economic welfare of the country, given the continuation of 
Canada’s present economic policy. But this trade is not 
essential in the sense that without it Canadians would starve 
to death. There is food and shelter for all within the country, 
and it might be cheaper to reorganize the economy during 
the period of cessation of the trade than to engage in a war 
to preserve it. A recent study group of the Canadian In¬ 
stitute of International Affairs on the subject of defence 
unanimously agreed that “few of the great trading countries 
have in practice defended their shipping on the high seas, 
and it seemed to be clear that Canada’s defence policy could 
not be designed with the object of defending her goods, even 
those which might be carried far from home in her own 
ships”. Moreover, it has been shown 1 that in actual fact 
there is very little “Canadian” trade on the Atlantic. A sort 
of de facto “cash and carry” principle prevails; Canada sells 
her produce to European importers in Canada, and they 
collect it in their own ships at Canadian ports. It is their 
trade, rather than Canada’s, on the high seas. They are more 
vitally concerned to import it than is Canada to export it, 
and they are only too anxious to see it continue, not for 
Canada’s sake, but for their own. No one in Canada has 
ever taken seriously the suggestion that she should “blast 
her way into the markets of the world”; present defence 
plans contemplate the protection of “focal sea areas” (a 
vague term in current use amongst the military experts) ap¬ 
parently as a part of coastal defence and as a protection of 
overseas shipping only as it converges on Canadian 

If Canada were to remain neutral in a war in which the 
United States were involved it might be necessary to defend 
that neutrality against violation. For example, if Japan and 
the United States were at war, Japan might wish to use the 
British Columbia coast as a base of operations, or the United 
States might want to transport troops and equipment across 
Canadian territory into Alaska. In either case Canada 
would have to protect her neutrality, for fear of becoming 

iSee above, p. 36. 



involved as an ally of one of the belligerents. Coastal de¬ 
fences of the kind already described, when completed, will 
take care of submarine bases or temporary landing parties. 
If the United States were determined to use Canadian terri¬ 
tory, there is nothing Canada could do to prevent it. 


The immediate defence of Canada, then, is not beyond the 
capacity of Canadians acting alone, provided they are con¬ 
tent simply to safeguard their own territory. From the 
purely national point of view Canada needs no military alli¬ 
ances in the present world. If Canadian foreign policy in¬ 
cludes the idea of intervention in Europe or elsewhere on 
behalf of the Commonwealth or the League, however, other 
considerations at once arise. The character of Canadian 
defence forces must be altered, and preparation for joint 
action begun. To protect Canada, as has been shown, fixed 
coastal batteries, mine sweepers, aircraft and possibly a 
few submarines are necessary, with a small supporting in¬ 
fantry force at each coast. To prepare for an expeditionary 
force to Europe, the emphasis must be placed on mobile and 
mechanized units, trained and equipped for immediate inte¬ 
gration with the British army. These units must be supplied 
with machine guns, tanks, bombing-planes, and all the 
paraphernalia of modern warfare, much of which is super¬ 
fluous, either in kind or quantity, for the defence of Canada 
alone. This type of army, on a modest scale, is contemplated 
and is in fact being organized in Canada. 1 The possibility of 
co-operation in war abroad has always been a dominant 
factor in Canadian defence policy, since until comparatively 
recently most Canadians have accepted without question the 
military alliance implicit in the former empire relationship, 

ICanada has a permanent active militia of 4,000 men, a non-permanent militia with a 
peace establishment of 100,000 but an actual strength of about 45,000, and a paper reserve 
militia. The naval forces consist of four destroyers, with two on order (four to be placed 
on the Pacific and two on the Atlantic coasts) and a number of mine sweepers; total per¬ 
sonnel (March, 1938) 119 officers and 1,462 ratings, with a volunteer reserve of 77 officers 
and 1,344 ratings. The Air Force consists of an authorized permanent personnel of 1,730 
and a non-permanent force of 1,064; 102 aircraft are being secured, and landing fields 
have been constructed across the country to permit of rapid concentration. See MacKay 
and Rogers, op. cit., pp. 192 ff., and speech of the Minister of Defence (Hon. Ian Mac¬ 
kenzie) on March 24, 1938, cited above, p. 91, n. 2. 



and empire wars have not been fought in North America for 
over a century. Even today the ratio of defence expenditures 
as between land, sea and air is 2:1:1, whereas a purely 
national defence policy would place both naval and air 
expenditures ahead of those devoted to the infantry. 1 In 
addition, Canada is under contractual agreement with Great 
Britain to permit the use of Halifax and Esquimalt harbours 
by the British fleet, and has always co-ordinated her training 
and equipment with British practices. There is thus a differ¬ 
ence between local defence requirements and present defence 
policy, a difference representing Canada’s recognition of the 
possibility of having to take part in an overseas war. 2 

Because of the growing isolationist sentiment in the 
country the government spokesmen have tended recently 
to emphasize the home defence needs and to deny any “com¬ 
mitments” to or preparations for war abroad. To do this 
without unduly offending imperialist and other sentiment 
requires no little verbal ingenuity. An example of the kind 
of statement that is made is seen in the following extract 
from Mr. King’s speech on February 19, 1937, justifying the 
increase in the Canadian defence estimates: 

... In the course of this debate it has been necessary at different 
times from this side of the house to repeat that what we are doing we 
are doing for Canada and for Canada alone. That has been necessary 
for the reason that an impression had been created that what we were 
doing had relation to some expeditionary force which would be sent 
overseas. When we say that what we are doing we are doing for 
Canada alone, we mean we are doing it for the defence of our country 
within the territorial waters of the coasts of our country, and within 
Canada itself for the defence of Canada. But I hope it will not be 
thought that because we have laid emphasis on the fact that what we 
are doing we are doing for Canada, we are not thereby making some 
contribution towards the defence of the British Commonwealth of 
Nations as a whole, or that we are not making some contribution to¬ 
wards the defence of all English-speaking communities, that we are 
not making some contribution towards the defence of all democracies, 

iSee Glazebrook, G. de T., Canada's Defence Policy, Report of Round Tables of Con¬ 
ference of Canadian Institute of International Affairs, 1937, p. 16. 

2In the past Canada’s contributions to imperial defence have been military rather 
than naval, and the habit of spending more on the military has continued. Many regi¬ 
ments which came back from the last war continued in existence. They became social 
and recreational centres; the winter quarters were club rooms and the summer camps 
cheap holiday outings. It was politically wise to maintain them. 



that we are not making some contribution towards the defence of all 
those countries that may some day necessarily associate themselves 
together for the purpose of preserving their liberties and freedom 
against an aggressor, come from wherever he may. 1 

The latter part of this double-barrelled statement is 
addressed to the body of opinion which feels strongly that 
Canada must prepare to meet the challenge of any aggres¬ 
sive powers, in order to preserve the same institutions and 
principles for which the empire took part in the last world 
war. As already indicated, Canadian defence arrangements 
already take this into account, though not to the extent this 
opinion would wish. The following note contributed by a 
Canadian expresses this point of view: it is given here in 
full and without comment to show how its adherents see the 
defence problem. 

There is only a very slight chance of Canada becoming involved in 
war arising out of any local issue. There is every chance of our becom¬ 
ing involved because of issues in which we are concerned along with 
every other free country. It is therefore the world issue that must 
dominate our consideration of defence policy. Canada’s first line of 
defence, like Britain’s, is on the Rhine. 

The nations of the world of our time are divided into three groups,— 
the Fascist states, governed by dictators, believing in war, ambitious 
and dissatisfied with their shares of empire; the Communist state, 
which may at any turn be added to by proletarian revolutions; and 
the Liberal and Democratic states, which are satisfied with the status 
quo which they secured partly by their greater progress in the nine¬ 
teenth century and partly by their victory in the late war. The only 
possibility of a war affecting Canada or any other part of the Common¬ 
wealth arises from the determination of the Fascist states to redress 
the balance, and the certainty that they will attempt to do so by war, 
unless the armed forces of the free nations are so strong and united as 
to foredoom the attempt to failure. If war does come Canada will 
again have to be defended on the fields of Flanders and in co-operation 
with the British Navy. If those fail Canada will have no option but 
to submit to whatever terms the Nazis dictate. 

The defence of the mainland of Canada from invasion can be so 
easily provided for that no nation on either side of us would attempt it. 
Nor would they have the slightest need to do so. If the British Navy 
were out of the way it would be a very simple matter for Germany to 

ICanada, House of Commons Debates, February 19, 1937, p. 1058. 



seize the island of Cape Breton and use it as a base from which to 
destroy all our Atlantic trade or for Japan to seize Vancouver Island 
and destroy our Pacific trade. Without export trade Canada cannot 
do more than exist. Exports take up so large a proportion of our pro¬ 
duction, both agricultural and industrial that their cessation would 
disrupt our whole economic structure and cause unemployment so 
great as to be beyond our power to cope with. It is nonsense to talk 
of the trade not being Canadian trade because it is carried from our 
shores in ships of foreign registry or owned by foreign purchasers. 
An enemy nation which secured control of the oceans could get all the 
supplies it needed from other countries and our trade would come 
to an end. 

It is natural and right that our defence policy should be directed 
first of all to our own defence and, since such defence will cost all that 
we can at present afford to spend, our Government is taking the right 
course in making such defence its sole present aim. But as our people 
come to realize the world situation more clearly they will insist on our 
being prepared to do our part, if it becomes necessary. That can only 
be done by co-operation first with Great Britain, then with the other 
parts of the Empire and the United States, and ultimately in a League 
of the Free Nations for the defence of our common liberties and in¬ 
terests. 1 

iThis is a point of view held by a considerable body of opinion in the United States. 
Its best expression is perhaps to be found in Walter Lippmann’s article in Foreign Affairs, 
July, 1937, “Rough-hew Them How We Will”. He sees the hand of a divine Providence 
in the American neutrality legislation giving effect to the “cash and carry” principle, since 
tt will assist the democratic powers. 



ANADA’S external associations are primarily with the 
British Commonwealth and the United States, for 

obvious historic and geographical reasons; but her de¬ 
velopment as a supplier of international markets and a 
member of the League has brought her into wide contact 
with the world at large. 


Canada’s associations with the Commonwealth are in all 
essential respects the same as those of her sister dominions. 
The formal link of the Crown is apparent in all the functions 
of government, both Dominion and provincial. High Com¬ 
missioners are exchanged between Ottawa and London, and 
the Union of South Africa now has an accredited representa¬ 
tive at Ottawa—the first to come from any dominion. All 
Canadians enjoy the common status of British subjects, 
though British subjects from other parts of the Common¬ 
wealth require five years residence before they can be classed 
as “Canadian citizens” or “Canadian nationals” under cer¬ 
tain Canadian laws. 1 The Privy Council remains the final 
court of appeal for Canada, much criticized but not yet 
abandoned. 2 Canadians participate in various organs of 
Commonwealth co-operation set up under the Imperial 
Conferences, such as the Imperial Economic Committee and 
other joint bodies. Canadian officers are sent for training to 

VE.g. under the Immigration Act, the Foreign Enlistment Act, etc. 

2In the 1938 session of the Canadian Parliament, the Hon. C. H. Cahan, Secretary of 
State in the Conservative administration, 1930-35, introduced a bill to abolish appeals 
to the Privy Council “in relation to any matter within the competence of the Parliament 
of Canada . Mr. Lapointe, the Minister of Justice, in his speech supporting the bill, 
expressed the opinion that the Canadian Parliament had the power to do away with all 
appeals. Mr. Cahan then stated that he would be very glad to see an amendment in 
committee to that effect (Canada, House of Commons Debates, unrevised, April 8, 1938, 
p. 2353). The bill was later withdrawn to permit of further study by law associations 
and other interested bodies throughout the Dominion. Mr. Cahan has stated that he 
hopes Mr. Lapointe will re-introduce a similar bill on behalf of the government at the 
next session. If not, he will himself re-introduce the bill. The wide measure of support 
given the bill is indicative of the movement of opinion against the use of appeals to the 
Privy Council. 


the Imperial Staff College. But Canada has consistently 
opposed the creation of any central Commonwealth organiza¬ 
tion which would possess executive power or which might 
give the impression that a new system of control was being 
established in London. There is no likelihood that this 
attitude will change. 

Canada’s trade relations with Great Britain and other 
members of the Commonwealth have already been described. 
46.7 per cent, of Canadian exports went to empire countries 
in 1937 and 29.5 per cent, of her imports came from them. 
This considerable trade, second only to that between Canada 
and the United States, is the result both of historic commer¬ 
cial relationships and of the imperial preferences. There is 
no doubt that Canada s trade with the Commonwealth is 
based to some extent upon political considerations, and that 
should her political objectives change in this regard the im¬ 
portance of the empire in her economy would gradually 
diminish. The political factor, however, does not appear to 
be of great importance in the total picture. Great Britain’s 
need for foodstuffs and raw materials makes trade with 
Canada very natural. 

It is not easy to assess the cultural and sentimental ties 
that join Canada to the Commonwealth. They have their 
roots in language, literature and religion; in respect for the 
Crown and in parliamentary democracy; in a common his¬ 
tory and in family relationships. These ties are strong in 
some sections of Canada, weak in others. They are strong¬ 
est in the Maritimes, Ontario and British Columbia; less 
evident in the Prairie Provinces where the non-British im¬ 
migrants are mostly settled; and weakest in Quebec. 
Canadians with a pro-British attitude occupy most of the 
important positions in the Protestant churches, in public 
affairs, in education, in business and in the press. In an 
emergency, they would act with considerable unanimity. 
Nevertheless, imperialist sentiment amongst the general 
population has declined in recent years. For half the Cana¬ 
dians the “British tradition” is something which they found 
existing in the country of their adoption, or else, as in the 
case of the French Canadians, something which was imposed 



upon them. These people are Canadians first, members of 
the Commonwealth after. This does not mean that many, 
perhaps most of these Canadians have not a great respect 
for the British Commonwealth and its traditions. Their 
loyalty to Canada includes unquestionably a certain loyalty 
to the British connection. The degree of the latter loyalty, 
however, is obviously much less than would be found 
amongst Canadians of British origin. And even large num¬ 
bers of the British Canadians have transplanted the greater 
part of their loyalty. 

In the matter of imperial defence Canada has always fol¬ 
lowed an apparently independent course. At the moment of 
crisis in the past she has not stinted her expenditure (witness 
South Africa and the world war) but in times of peace she 
has been suspicious of joint efforts for imperial defence. She 
has never contributed to the British navy, 1 and recently has 
given a distinctly cold reception to the “peregrinating im¬ 
perialists” who from time to time suggest that she should. 
Most Canadians are convinced that the British navy, even 
admitting its deterrent effect on aggressors, is no larger than 
it would be if the Dominion were totally independent. 2 
Great Britain quite properly builds for her own defence 
rather than for Canada’s. She must protect the North 
Atlantic trade routes, for she needs foodstuffs and raw 
materials both from Canada and the United States. At the 
same time it has already been pointed out that Canada has 
never ceased to prepare for possible joint action with Great 
Britain. The principle of “no commitments” is now ad¬ 
vanced as the corner-stone of Canada’s defence policy, at the 
same time as officers are being exchanged with British units, 
equipment is being made uniform with the latest British 
models, and a military force is contemplated of a kind differ¬ 
ent from that required for purely domestic needs. To most 
imperialists, Canada’s co-operation in defence matters seems 
pitifully inadequate; to those who support a policy of neu¬ 
trality Canada seems to be preparing already for another 
intervention in Europe whenever Britain calls. 

^Though in 1912 she would have done so but for the opposition of the Senate. 

2“. . . If Canada dropped out of the Empire tomorrow Great Britain could not reduce 
her armed strength by one war-ship, aircraft or man.”—“Canuck”, “The Problems of 
Canadian Defence”, Canadian Defence Quarterly, April, 1938, p. 268. 



In considering Canada’s attitude to the Commonwealth 
a distinction must be made between the desire for neutrality 
and the desire for secession. Even those Canadians who wish 
Canada to have the right to neutrality when Great Britain 
or any other part of the Commonwealth is at war, do not 
wish to secede from the Commonwealth. According to some 
imperialists neutrality means secession; others challenge this 
assumption. It is important to remember, however, that 
people who believe neutrality is possible in an empire joined 
merely by a personal union under the Crown are not, in their 
hearts, aiming to destroy the Commonwealth. Despite the 
increasing tendency to independent action in international 
affairs, the vast majority of Canadians hope the Common¬ 
wealth will continue and that Canada will remain a member 
of it. Even many of the French-Canadian nationalists have 
said that they do not desire to quit the Commonwealth 
altogether; their independent republic would remain a 
dominion under the Crown. None of the movements of 
opinion within Canada which conflict with the concept of a 
strongly united Commonwealth must be taken to indicate 
the growth of a secessionist movement. 

A further distinction that needs to be made is that be¬ 
tween a right to neutrality and a policy of neutrality. A right 
to remain neutral is an adjunct of autonomy, a necessary 
constitutional power if Canada is to have full control over 
her own foreign policy. A policy of neutrality is the exercise 
of that right in a particular event. Some people who ask 
for the right wish to adopt the policy, but many others wish 
Canada to have the right so that she may really be free to 
adopt a policy of neutrality or not, according to her own 
decision when the next war comes. It is the automatic 
belligerency at some one else’s choice which is objected to 
even though that belligerency be purely technical at the 

There is also in Canada a considerable body of opinion 
which would place the importance of the maintenance of 
Commonwealth unity ahead of the right to neutrality in 
time of war. Such people would put first the preservation of 
the Commonwealth association, hoping at the same time that 



neutrality might still turn out to be possible. Although they 
would maintain Canada’s freedom of action as to participa¬ 
tion in the conduct of overseas wars, and would always im¬ 
press the Canadian point of view upon the British govern¬ 
ment as to any matter affecting Canada’s interests, they 
would take for granted Canada’s technically belligerent 
status in any British or Commonwealth war. They think 
that a neutral Canada would be virtually certain, in a con¬ 
flict involving great powers, to have her neutrality chal¬ 
lenged in such a way as to present the alternatives of accept¬ 
ing belligerency or breaking the Commonwealth connection. 
By many of this group the relationship with Great Britain 
is accepted as including a tacit military alliance. 1 

The British connection has left, as need scarcely be said, a 
permanent mark on Canadian social and political institu¬ 
tions. It is seen most noticeably in the parliamentary nature 
of the Canadian government, in the structure of the courts, 
in the organization of the military forces, and in religious 
and educational traditions. But in spite of this tutelage the 
greater number of Canadian institutions and activities are 
now North American or just plain Canadian. The parlia¬ 
mentary tradition has been blended with a federalism which 
is American in origin. Political behaviour is often American 
despite the forms of government. History relates Canada to 
Great Britain, but the daily contacts of Canadians are with 
the United States. It has been estimated that some 30,000,- 
000 crossings of the Canadian-American boundary were 
made in the year 1931-32. 2 Canadian sports and amusements 
are American. Only small groups in the principal Canadian 
cities read English periodicals, though English books are 
more widely distributed. Most English-speaking Canadians 
read some American magazines, which have a greater total 
circulation in Canada than have the Canadian publications. 
Every Canadian with a radio may tune in at any time to a 
variety of United States programmes, and their constant 
influence affects his outlook even though he may occasionally 

lAn estimate of the relative strength of the various groups of opinion in Canada is 
made below, pp. 135 ff. 

aSee address by R. H. Coats on “The Two Good Neighbours” in Proceedings of Confer¬ 
ence on Canadian-American Affairs , 1937, edited by Trotter, R. G., Corey, A. B., and Mc¬ 
Laren, W. W. (Boston, 1937), pp. 106 ff. 


rise at a special hour to hear a coronation service from 
London or some other empire broadcast. Cultural diffusion 
east and west is difficult within the Dominion; it is relatively 
easy north and south across the international boundary. 
The natural affiliations of the Maritime Provinces are with 
the New England states; many more Quebec French 
Canadians have emigrated to the United States than to 
other parts of Canada; Ontario’s business and labour con¬ 
nections are predominantly American; the Prairie Provinces 
are highly Americanized; while British Columbia is an in¬ 
tegral part of the Pacific slope. 1 Thus does the United States 
press upon Canada in a way that Great Britain cannot, and 
though the British traditions continue, and provide a kind 
ol psychological counterweight which is very powerful the 
other influence is the more insistent. The Commonwealth 
provides the Sunday religion, North America the week-day 
habits, of Canadians. 

British institutions are now thoroughly incorporated into 
Canadian life and blended with American elements adapted 
to Canadian needs. Their continuation in Canada may be 
expected, regardless of the continuance of the Common¬ 
wealth relationship. England's contribution to Canada is 
kept alive now not so much by the existence of the Common¬ 
wealth as by the voluntary adherence of Canadians them¬ 
selves to the traditions with which their national life began. 
On the other hand the existence of these traditions largely 
guarantees Canada's continued membership in the Com¬ 


In the formal political sense, the United States is a foreign 
country to Canadians, one of the three foreign countries to 
which a Canadian minister has been accredited. In actual 
fact the United States is not regarded as a foreign country at 
all. When the Canadians talk about the “foreigners" in the 
population, they are not thinking of American settlers. 2 A 

1937)^. ^ afe> N ’ J ' and Logan ’ H - A ’ Labor in Canadian-American Relations (Toronto, 

welcome the or S anizers “foreign agitators”, but Canadian politicians 

e American financiers with open arms if they have money to invest in Canada. 



very special relationship exists between the two countries, 
as unlike ordinary international intercourse as are the deal¬ 
ings of the British countries one with another. The existence 
of this relationship makes Canada unique in the British 
Commonwealth, for no other member has similar associa¬ 
tions with any country outside the Commonwealth. 

Throughout the preceding analysis of the basic factors in 
Canadian life, the influence of the United States has in¬ 
evitably appeared, and there is no need to repeat what has 
already been said. Trade and commerce, radio, the films, 
newspapers and periodicals, sports, tourist visits and family 
connections, maintain the constant intercourse. When dis¬ 
putes arise and adjustments must be made between the 
governments, little difficulty is ever experienced: witness the 
settlement of the I'm Alone case, and the steady achieve¬ 
ments of the International Joint Commission regulating 
boundary waters. Perhaps it would be wrong to attribute 
all the American characteristics of Canadian life to the in¬ 
fluence of the United States. Men and women, whether 
north or south of the American boundary, derive from the 
same racial stocks, live on the same continent, and have to 
abstract a living from a very similar physical environment; 
it is not surprising that in the process of time their social 
and economic institutions have come to have great similari¬ 
ties. When a Canadian talks of Canada as an American 
nation, he does not mean that he wants to become a citizen 
of the United States, or hopes Canada will enter the Amer¬ 
ican Union; he means that he recognizes now, and is not 
afraid to face the fact, that his destiny and chief interests lie 
in North America. 1 

Events that occur in the United States have immediate 
repercussions in, and seem closely related to, Canada. Dra¬ 
matic English events, particularly those touching the Crown, 
awake great interest in Canada, but the internal social and 
political developments in England seem remote. The election 
of President Roosevelt, and the stimulus which his per¬ 
sonality and programme have given to social and political 

Ht has been suggested that the proper reply for a Canadian to the question frequently 
addressed to him in England, “Are you an American?”, is, “Yes, I am a Canadian”. Due 
to the fact that “United States” is a noun from which no adjective can be made, the word 
“American” must do a double duty. 


changes within the United States, have had a great influence 
upon Canadian policy in the past five years. Mr. Bennett’s 
legislative reforms of 1935 were not improperly called in 
Canada, Mr. Bennett’s ‘New Deal’ ”. Recovery in the 
United States preceded and promoted Canadian economic 
improvement. The sudden rise of Lewis and the C. I. O. 
stirred Canadian trades unions into more militancy and 
activity than they had shown since the world war. Mr. 
Roosevelt’s visit to Buenos Aires in 1936 made the Pan- 
American Union a topic of discussion in the Canadian 
Institute of International Affairs, if not in the country at 
large. It is generally true that every important development 
in the United States is followed with a varying time lag by a 
similar development in Canada. Only occasionally are Eng¬ 
lish changes followed in Canada; possibly the introduction 
of new divorce legislation into the Canadian parliament fol¬ 
lowing A. P. Herbert’s divorce bill is a recent example, as is 
also the structure of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 
which was modelled on the B. B. C. 


Since 1920 Canada’s membership in the League of Nations 
has been an important factor amongst her external associa¬ 
tions. It has affected to a considerable degree both her re¬ 
lationship with the United States and with the British 

The idea of the League of Nations was attractive to 
Canadians for two reasons. In the first place the creation of 
the League gave an opportunity for Canada to appear before 
the world as an independent nation. Canada, it has been 
said, was born in an ante-room at Geneva. In the second 
place, Canadians along with other British peoples can be 
easily aroused to international co-operation by an idealistic 
or humanitarian appeal. The ideals and work of the League 
of Nations evoked considerable enthusiasm amongst certain 
sections of the Canadian people, and made them desire to 
shape a Canadian foreign policy in accordance with the re¬ 
quirements of a world collective system. This was particu¬ 
larly true in later years, for at first the League was not 



understood. While this loyalty to the League did not destroy 
a sense of loyalty to the Commonwealth, it made the latter 
appear less important to many people. 

The history of Canada's participation in League activities 
shows a decided opposition to the idea of the League as a 
body with power to enforce its decisions. Canadian delegates 
at Geneva have generally been willing to co-operate on 
minor international matters but unwilling to promote or 
support schemes for mutual assistance in the event of war. 
In this respect Canadian official action has often been less co¬ 
operative than some sections of public opinion would have 
wished. Canada opposed the Italian suggestion of an inquiry 
into raw materials in 1920, and supported the British gov¬ 
ernment in its rejection of the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee 
of 1923 and the Protocol of 1924. Canada moved for the 
deletion of Article X of the Covenant, and when this failed 
was instrumental in obtaining the interpretative resolution 
of 1923 which recognized that the Council, in recommending 
military measures in consequence of aggression, should take 
into account the geographical situation and the special con¬ 
ditions of each state. The Canadian representative at the 
time of the Manchurian incident went fully as far as Sir John 
Simon in suggesting caution and minimizing the aggression 
of Japan. Mr. Mackenzie King in his speech in the Canadian 
House of Commons on June 18, 1936, and in his speech at 
the League Assembly on September 29, 1936, declared that 
Canada had no absolute commitments to apply military or 
even economic sanctions against an aggressor named by the 
League; that it was for the parliament of Canada (not the 
League Council or Assembly) to decide in the light of the 
circumstances of each case how far Canada would participate 
in any form of compulsion. 1 Yet he had applied the sanctions 
against Italy without waiting for parliamentary approval, so 
strong was the opinion in the country. 

While thus making clear to the League that she would not 
give definite commitments in advance, Canada nevertheless 
took part in the general work of the League in the same 

1A ftill analysis of Mr. King's various statements in this connection is given by Escott 
Mr. Mackenzie King’s Foreign Policy”, Canadian Journal of Economics and 
Political Science, February, 1937. 



manner as her sister dominions. She adopted the Optional 
Clause and the General Act for the Pacific Settlement of 
International Disputes. She has attended the sessions of the 
I. L. O.; but the lack of an effective labour party, the in¬ 
fluence of the employer and agricultural classes in Canada, 
and constitutional difficulties, have prevented the Dominion 
from implementing more than four of the fifty-seven draft 
conventions of the International Labour Conference. 1 An 
attempt was made by Mr. Bennett in 1935 to implement 
three other conventions, but the Privy Council invalidated 
the legislation. None of the provinces has shown any in¬ 
clination to use the exclusive legislative power in this regard 
which the courts have recognized as vested in them; their 
legislatures are generally dominated by agricultural repre¬ 
sentatives and include very few labour spokesmen. 2 

Canada’s willingness to participate in the application of 
sanctions at the outset of the Italo-Abyssinian war, and the 
almost complete unanimity with which this policy was ap¬ 
proved, at least in English-speaking Canada, indicated that 
when loyalty to the Commonwealth and to the League were 
combined the majority of the Canadian people were willing 
to undertake very considerable commitments in world 
affairs. At the same time the more cautious attitude, the 
North American suspicion of all European politics, is always 
present in the country. The French Canadians in particular 
are suspicious of the League, which many of them look upon 
as the creation of freemasons and atheists. 3 The Dominion 
government’s repudiation of special responsibility for the 
Canadian representative’s motion, in the Committee of 
Eighteen, to apply the oil sanction, gave expression to the 
isolationist feeling. In spite of the League’s virtual dis¬ 
appearance as an instrument of collective security a belief in 
this idea has not died in the Dominion. The disillusionment 
and disappointment of recent years, however, have made 

lAs of January 1, 1937. See Canada Year Book , 1937, p. 740. 

2British Columbia is the sole exception: the Eight Hour Day Convention was put 
into force by provincial law. In a number of cases, although the provincial legislatures 
have not specifically implemented the conventions, nevertheless they have enacted legis¬ 
lation covering many of the points dealt with by them. 

3See Bruchesi, Jean, in Canada: The Empire and the League (Proceedings of the Cana¬ 
dian Institute on Economics and Politics, Lake Couchiching, Ontario, 1936) (Toronto, 
1936), p. 143. 



most of the League supporters profoundly sceptical of the 
possibility of building again an effective world organization 
at Geneva until the European nations settle some of their 
own differences by their own action. In consequence, most 
Canadians today look upon Europe as being in a condition 
indistinguishable from that which existed at the beginning of 
this century. 

Outside Quebec, sentiment in Canada toward the League 
has thus moved from early indifference through a short 
period of enthusiasm and active support (Abyssinia) to 
almost complete disillusionment. This disillusionment has 
spread its influence into the field of Commonwealth affairs. 
Manchuria, Abyssinia, Spain, China, Austria—these mile¬ 
stones on the road of international disintegration have 
alienated the sympathies of considerable sections of English- 
Canadian opinion towards the Commonwealth connection. 
These events have had the contrary effect on numerous 
other English Canadians. 

The former group contend that an inkling of what would 
occur were the League to disappear was perceived at the first 
British Commonwealth Relations Conference, 1 and that its 
fears have been amply justified. The influence of recent 
international events has reacted in three ways to the 
detriment of the Commonwealth association. In the first 
place, the policy of the British government since 1931 has 
steadily estranged those Canadians who believe it prefers 
power politics of the pre-League type to the principles 
established by the Covenant. The spectacle of a British 
Foreign Secretary going to Geneva, by private agreement 
with a covenant-breaker, to beg the powers to recognize a 
conquest acquired by barefaced aggression against a fellow 
member of the League, is one which these Canadians cannot 

l"If a breakdown of the attempt to establish a humane and reasonable world-order 
ever did bring these diverse regional factors into active play, who could tell how far the 
countries now associated in the British Commonwealth might drift apart on their way to 
encounter their diverse fates, whatever these fates might respectively prove to be? To a 
well attuned ear, the proceedings at the British Commonwealth Relations Conference 
which met at Toronto in September 1933 had a tragic as well as an assuring note.” A. J. 
Toynbee, in British Commonwealth Relations (Proceedings of the first British Common¬ 
wealth Relations Conference) (London, 1934), p. 14. Further opinion of a similar sort 
was expressed at the first annual Studies Conference of the Canadian Institute of Inter¬ 
national Affairs, held in May, 1934; see the report published by the Institute and distributed 
privately to members. 



view without a sense of bitterness and shame, however much 
Canada herself may be open to criticism for her attitude 
toward sanctions. Distrust of British policy very naturally 
breeds a dislike of the idea of the Commonwealth being 
asked to back the new policy should it result in the expected 
war. In the second place, even many imperialists feel dis¬ 
turbed at the long refusal of Great Britain to take a firm 
stand against the threats of the dictators; while approving 
her rearmament programme, they feel that the toleration of 
fascist expansion is jeopardizing the trade routes of the 
Empire and inviting future aggression at a time when the 
strategic position of Great Britain will be far weaker. Lastly, 
and perhaps most seriously, the revival of an armaments 
race on a huge scale, the return of the struggle for the balance 
of power in Europe, and the growing belief that a useless 
repetition of the world war is almost certain to occur sooner 
or later, make numbers of English Canadians turn to a policy 
of North American isolation and self-defence, and confirm 
the French Canadians in their determination not to allow 
themselves to be involved again. If Europe has reverted to 
her former state of armed anarchy, there seems to these 
Canadians little use in intervention if there is any possibility 
of staying out. 

The trend of events has had a very different effect on an¬ 
other group of English Canadians. Such people may or 
may not have approved recent British policy, but their 
opinion of what Canada’s policy should be now is determined 
by the plain fact that Great Britain is in danger. To them 
the preservation of the Commonwealth is a fundamental 
article of faith. When the security of the Commonwealth 
was reasonably assured they took the association as a matter 
of course; but now that that security is threatened, they 
urge Canada to rally to the support of the “mother country”. 
Today they are more determined in their support of Great 
Britain than at any time since 1919. The divergence of 
opinion on the question of Canada’s place in the Common¬ 
wealth is thus becoming more marked, and is increasing the 
strain on national unity. 




Canada’s international relations, apart from those with the 
Commonwealth, the United States and the League of Na¬ 
tions, are principally of a commercial nature. It might be 
thought that relations with France would be particularly 
close, owing to the fact that so many Canadians are of 
French origin. The French Canadian, however, has little 
attachment to his mother country. The sentimental tie has 
been effectively broken, partly by the absence of political 
association for 175 years, but more particularly by the fact 
that France has turned anti-clerical while the French 
Canadian has remained a staunch believer and an ultra¬ 
montane. Only to a slight extent, amongst a few intellectuals, 
does modem French thought or policy influence the thinking 
or attract the attention of the French Canadian. Neverthe¬ 
less a certain formality of interest is maintained; Canada has 
appointed a minister to France, and on important historic 
occasions French representatives visit Quebec and make 
appropriate speeches. 

While the influence of France in Canada is slight, the 
influence of the Papacy is considerable. The final decision in 
regard to the appointment of Roman Catholic bishops in 
Canada is made in Rome. At one period of Canadian history 
(during the religious conflict over the Manitoba School Act 
of 1890) it was pressure from the Apostolic delegate, Mgr. 
Merry del Val, which eased the agitation in French Canada. 
The Catholic Church, as M. Siegfried has pointed out, has 
interests in North America far wider than the aspirations of 
French-Canadian nationalism. 1 The publication of the Ne 
Temere decree in 1908 precipitated a Canadian conflict over 
the marriage question. 2 The teaching of “corporatism” in 
Quebec today is a consequence of the social doctrine contained 
in recent Papal encyclicals. Because of the Vatican influence 
in Canada, the influence of Italy is also, at the moment, 
considerable. French Canada approves the Italian policy 
in Spain though this is inimical to the interests of France. 

ISiegfried, Andr6, Canada, pp. 69-70. 

2A Marriage Bill was introduced into the Dominion Parliament to overcome the effects 
ofthe decree, but it was declared ultra vires by the courts. See In Re Marriage Legislation 
[1912J A.C. 880. 



The presence of a Canadian minister in Tokyo is evidence 
of Canada’s commercial and political concern with the Far 
East. Canadian trade with far eastern countries is only a 
small part of her total foreign trade, but is by no means a 
negligible quantity. In particular, as has been pointed out, 
Canada’s trade with Japan has increased considerably in 
recent years. Canada has also been interested in the political 
arrangements for maintaining peace in the Pacific. She was 
largely instrumental in persuading Great Britain to abandon 
the Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1921 out of concern for Amer¬ 
ican feeling. She became a party to the Nine Power Treaty 
and the Four Power Treaty adopted at the Washington 
Conference as a basis for future relations between the coun¬ 
tries bordering on the Pacific. Canadians were amongst the 
founders of the unofficial Institute of Pacific Relations. 
Canada has never attempted, however, to bring any pressure 
to bear upon other signatories to the Washington treaties to 
compel them to stand by their engagements. She has left the 
initiative here, as in Europe and in the League, to powers 
which are more closely involved in the disputes which have 
arisen. It is noteworthy that the Canadian government re¬ 
fused to apply against the belligerents in the Sino-Japanese 
conflict the provisions of the neutrality legislation adopted 
in 1937. 1 Canadian exporters are being permitted to make 
their increased profits out of the demand stimulated by war 
in the east, though they were prohibited from similar com¬ 
mercial transactions with the rebels and the government 
forces in Spain. Canada’s general policy of moving when 
Britain and the great powers move and not moving when 
they do not fitted in here very well with the Catholic opinion 
which did not wish any help to reach the Spanish govern¬ 
ment and the commercial opinion which wanted to seize the 
opportunity of greater trade with Japan. 

Canadian connections with Latin-American countries are 
very slight. There is no diplomatic representative accredited 
to any Central or South American state. Trade commis¬ 
sioners, however, have been appointed for the Argentine 
Republic, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Panama and Peru. The 

iSee below, pp. 125-6, for its description. 



total Canadian exports to South and Central America 
amounted to only $17,000,000 in 1936, less than Canada’s 
exports to Australia. In part this diminutive trade may be 
due to the absence of a determined attempt on the part of 
Canada to develop markets, but the prevailing opinion in 
Canada holds that no very great commercial development is 
likely until the standard of living in those countries is ma¬ 
terially raised. 1 If, however, one thinks of the two Americas 
together, then their importance from the Canadian point of 
view, even with the undeveloped South American trade, is 
at once appreciated. In 1937 they absorbed 45 per cent, of 
Canadian exports and supplied 65 per cent, of her imports. 2 

lSee the discussion of this and other aspects of Canada’s relations with Latin America 
in Canada and the Americas, a report of the Round Table Conference of the Canadian 
Institute of International Affairs held at Hamilton, May, 1937, by F. H. Soward; also, 
MacKay and Rogers, op. cit., Chap. VIII. 

2See table on p. 42, above. 



I T WOULD be impossible to find agreement in Canada 
about the advantages and disadvantages of membership 
in the Commonwealth, since different groups would dis¬ 
agree as to what constituted an “advantage”. The Orange¬ 
man in Ontario and the Catholic in Quebec look at the 
British connection from fundamentally different points of 
view. Instead of attempting, therefore, to form two lists of 
the consequences of membership, one labelled “advantages” 
and the other “disadvantages”, the more objective method 
will be followed of considering what seem to be the principal 
results, leaving the reader to form his own estimate as to 
their utility for Canada. 

Membership in the Commonwealth means that Canada 
has always been a partner in a world-wide political organiza¬ 
tion. This has made the inhabitants of the Dominion more 
conscious of their place in international affairs, more con¬ 
cerned with world movements, than they would have been 
as citizens merely of a North American state. It has lessened 
to some extent the provincialism and sectionalism to which 
the country is only too addicted. This effect of the Common¬ 
wealth association, however, has of late years lost some of its 
force. Canadian foreign trade is so extensive, her relation¬ 
ships with other countries so wide, that complete isolation 
from the rest of the world is no longer possible. The lumber¬ 
man in British Columbia, the farmer on the prairies, the 
miner in central Canada, know what a world market is. 
Modem methods of communication keep all parts of Canada 
in constant touch with important world events. 

If the imperial ties were broken, Canada would at once 
have to increase her diplomatic services to enable her to con¬ 
duct her affairs with foreign states. The right of Canadians 
to use the British diplomatic and consular services has thus 




saved Canada the necessity of creating and paying for these 
services herself. 1 Every Canadian, by his possession of the 
status of British subject, can make use of a ready-made 
system of protection throughout the world. He travels and 
trades with status. On the other hand the absence of official 
Canadian representatives in most countries has meant that 
Ottawa has had to rely upon non-Canadian sources of in¬ 
formation for much of its knowledge of world affairs. 2 Copies 
of despatches sent to London from British diplomats may 
be forwarded to Ottawa, but these will not contain the 
same kinds of information, or even the same interpretation 
of events, as would be selected by a Canadian who was view¬ 
ing foreign developments from the Canadian point of view. 

In the international world, Canada as a British dominion 
can speak with an authority she would hardly possess were 
she an independent country of eleven million people. Canada 
has shared to some extent in the prestige and the power of 
the whole Commonwealth. It is not easy, however, to meas¬ 
ure “prestige”. It would be of more use to Canada today 
were she a country trying to force her will upon weaker 
nations; in so far as she deals with foreign countries on terms 
of mutual benefit and goodwill the potential power behind 
her is of no special value. Other relatively unarmed coun¬ 
tries, many with valuable raw materials as in South America, 
do not appear to suffer any particular handicap in their 
foreign relations. Canada’s most important affairs are with 
the United States and the British Commonwealth, and here 
“prestige” is of no value today, however useful it may have 
been in dealings with the United States during the nineteenth 
century, and however useful it may again become in a 
changing world. 3 

The fact that Canada began its life as a colony quite na¬ 
turally has produced in many Canadians an attitude of mind 
which can best be described as “colonialism”. This outlook 
continues to dominate a certain number of people, despite 

iThe British consular services, however, on the whole are self-supporting. 

2Canadian representatives in London, Washington, Paris, Tokyo and Geneva are able 
to supply the government with a great deal of very useful information; but these sources 
are incomplete. 

3See Trotter, R. G., “Which Way Canada? An Inquiry Concerning Canadian-American 
Relations and Canada’s Commonwealth Policy”, Queen's Quarterly , XLV, 3, Autumn, 1938. 


the growth of Dominion autonomy. It produces a distrust 
of things Canadian, a sense of inferiority, and a tendency to 
follow borrowed traditions blindly rather than to think out 
and act upon a native policy. Sometimes, to compensate for 
the inner weakness, an ostentatious patriotism appears based 
more on narrow loyalty than reasoned faith. Canada will not 
be a nation in the full sense until Dominion status has be¬ 
come a psychological fact as well as a political reality. 

One of the commonest ideas held about Canada’s mem¬ 
bership in the Commonwealth is that through it she has been 
provided with defence. Prior to the establishment of the 
Dominion and its extension to the Pacific the burden of 
Canada’s border defence was borne in large measure by the 
British government. In 1870, however, British forces were 
withdrawn from Canada, except for the garrisons at Halifax 
and Esquimalt, which were maintained until 1905. Up till 
confederation expansionist agitation in the United States 
would have repeatedly threatened Canadian independence 
had not the United States realized that northward aggression 
would face the military power of Britain. On the other hand 
it must be remembered that some of the agitation for 
annexation of Canadian territory was an appeal to anti- 
British rather than to anti-Canadian prejudices. 1 

So far as an invasion from Europe or Asia is concerned, at 
no time in the past 100 years is it reasonable to suppose that 
any power would have contemplated such an attack, 
whether the British navy or the Monroe Doctrine existed or 
not. Japan did not become a modern state until the end of 
the nineteenth century, and her expansion has since then 
been quite naturally toward the Asiatic mainland. Russia, 
after the sale of Alaska in 1867, paid no more attention to 
America. Germany and Italy did not become united until 
1870 and have been engrossed since in European and African 
affairs. The Germany of 1914, had it been victorious in the 
world war, would no doubt have contemplated further 
colonial expansion, conceivably at the expense of Canada; 
if this is so, the Dominion was defended by France, Russia 

iSee Trotter, R. G., “The Canadian Back Fence in Anglo-American Relations”, Queen’s 
Quarterly , XL, 3, August, 1933. 



and the other allied powers fighting Germany just as much 
as by England and the United States. Canada would be 
better defended today by a strong League of Nations, or 
even by a strong alliance between England, France and 
Russia, than she ever can be by the British Commonwealth 

As regards the problem of defence in the future, it would 
appear that neither Commonwealth aid nor the Monroe 
Doctrine is immediately essential, though both are im¬ 
portant. It has been shown how Canada will be able to 
defend her own coasts from any expected scale of attack, 
when her present defence plans are completed. Geography 
and international political alignments give her, at the mo¬ 
ment, all the defence she needs in addition to her own 
strength. In the contemporary world the only place where 
Canadians are likely to die violent deaths on the field of 
battle is in Europe. Were it not for the Commonwealth con¬ 
nection Canada would certainly be as isolationist as all the 
other American states. It is true that a number of Canadians 
consider Great Britain the principal supporter of peace in 
Europe; they believe that if she should be defeated in a war 
it would be only a matter of time before Canada was subject 
to a serious threat of invasion which could only be avoided 
by alliance with, followed by political subjection to, the 
United States; that the preservation of Canadian independ¬ 
ence therefore requires participation in the major struggles 
of Britain wherever they may be. In short, they think that 
defending England is defending Canada in a very real sense, 
quite apart from questions of sentiment or of moral obliga¬ 
tion. 1 The same long-range argument, of course, would lead 
Mexico and the South American republics to defend them¬ 
selves by fighting in Europe, since they are equally liable to 
invasion; it would mean also that Canada should help France 
and China, both of which can be relied on to oppose Ger¬ 
many and Japan, Canada’s principal potential enemies. 

It has been pointed out that the Canadian defence forces 
are equipped and trained according to English standards. 

lAn argument tending to support this view is presented in Trotter, R. G., “Which Way 
Canada? An Inquiry Concerning Canadian-American Relations and Canada’s Common¬ 
wealth Policy”, loc. cit. 



This is clearly an effect of the Commonwealth association. 
It results in Canada having to rely to a great extent on Great 
Britain for supplies. If the Atlantic sea route were blocked 
during a war, Canadians might find it impossible to maintain 
the coastal batteries at Halifax and Esquimalt, equipped 
with English guns. A defence policy based on purely Can¬ 
adian needs would more naturally follow United States 
practices, since supplies are more likely to be available from 
that country. The danger of Canada being cut off through 
the application of the United States neutrality laws is less 
than the danger that air and submarine attacks may make 
impossible any transport across the Atlantic. It is in the 
interest of the United States that Canada should be able to 
defend her neutrality against, and to repel invasion by, a 
non-American aggressor. 

Another consequence of Commonwealth membership, al¬ 
ready pointed out, is that Canadian defence policy has em¬ 
phasized military at the expense of naval and air power. A 
concern solely with local defence needs would have resulted 
in expenditure devoted much more to coastal defences and 
much less to the militia. 

Canada’s relations with the United States have grown 
steadily closer with the industrial development of the 
Dominion, despite Canada’s membership in the Common¬ 
wealth. Yet most Canadians would feel that the process of 
Americanization in Canada would have proceeded further 
and more rapidly had Canada been an independent state. 
Certainly the links with Great Britain and the other domin¬ 
ions, the position of the Crown, and innumerable other 
British influences have tended to make Canadians feel they 
were different from Americans even when the other influences 
of geography and commercial intercourse were making the 
two countries more and more alike. Had it not been for 
membership in the Commonwealth, Canada would probably 
have joined the Pan-American Union. It would be a com¬ 
paratively simple matter, from the military point of view, 
to create a league of American nations whose pooled defence 
forces would be impregnable against outside attack. Yet 
even today the sense of being a “British” country is still 



strong enough to make most Canadians unwilling to take 
this step, and the idea of such a league shows no sign of 
entering the realm of practical politics. 

Turning to matters of trade, it would seem that the ex¬ 
istence of the Commonwealth has not affected the develop¬ 
ment of the Canadian economy to any preponderant extent 
since the repeal of the Com Laws in 1846. After that date 
Canada went her own economic way. The British preference, 
it is true, and the Ottawa agreements, have diverted more 
Canadian trade into imperial channels than would have gone 
in that direction for purely economic reasons. Canada might 
have had fewer American branch factories had they not 
sought the benefit of imperial preferences. But Canada 
possesses raw materials which many countries, particularly 
Great Britain, need and must purchase on the world market. 
Canadian nickel must be bought because scarcely any other 
nickel exists; the best Canadian wheat will find a market 
because no better wheat is produced. Canadian foreign trade 
would no doubt be more widely spread were it not for the 
spirit of economic nationalism which operates within the 
Commonwealth, but it is doubtful how far the Common¬ 
wealth increases the total volume of that trade. Moreover, 
in so far as special economic arrangements between Common¬ 
wealth countries have the appearance, to outside nations, of 
creating a British economic bloc and a market closed to 
foreigners, they increase the world struggle for raw materials 
and thus add to the general political unsettlement and to 
Canada’s insecurity. 1 

It would be impossible to trace all the effects of member¬ 
ship in the Commonwealth on the internal development of 
the Canadian people. Their attitudes toward government, 
politics, law, religion, and indeed most other fields of human 
activity, have been profoundly coloured by the British con¬ 
nection. The sectional variations in the strength of this in¬ 
fluence, its counter-action by other influences of racial mix¬ 
ture and geography, its decline in the face of the growing 
national consciousness of Canadians, have already been noted. 

ir i r Ra y mond Leslie Buell has remarked that the result of the Ottawa agreements 
has been not only to demoralize still further world trade as a whole, but to make the 
Empire the object of envy of the overcrowded dictatorships”. See Canada, The Empire 
and the League (op. cit.), p. 54. 


Two other effects of membership in the Commonwealth 
already touched upon deserve emphasis. In the first place, 
Canadians of British origin, no matter how much they might 
be separated by the sectional divisions of the country, have 
been in the past united in their sense of loyalty to the Com¬ 
monwealth. Up to a point this common bond overcame 
sectional divisions. At the same time the force that tended 
to unite the English Canadians tended also to keep them 
apart from the French. French Canadians have felt that 
English Canadians were merely Englishmen in Canada and 
not properly Canadians, believing (without full warrant) 
that the latter placed loyalty to the Commonwealth ahead of 
loyalty to the interests of Canada. 1 Were Canada not a part 
of the Commonwealth Canadians would be more inclined to 
place the interests of their own country first, and a similar 
loyalty would tend to unite the two races in a way that has 
not occurred in the past. 

The second of these consequences is found in the pro¬ 
gressive deterioration of the Canadian constitution as a 
result of the Privy Council decisions. Mention has been 
made of the way in which judicial interpretation has altered 
the nature of the original federal structure, giving Canada in 
effect a constitution under which the central government has 
a limited number of powers and the residue remains with 
provincial authorities. 2 It was sentiment and colonial status 
which prevented the Canadian Supreme Court from being 
made the final court of appeal; from this point of view mem¬ 
bership in the Commonwealth has greatly retarded the 
development of Canadian unity. It is fair to add, however, 
that most Canadians have accepted these decisions without 
much criticism until recently, when the seriousness of the 
Dominion’s position has come to be recognized. If anything 
is to be done now, the responsibility rests upon Canada. 

iThe history of English-speaking Canada for more than a century has displayed a 
persistent Canadianism which has been willing to use the imperial connection for class or 
sectional aims and which has frequently sacrificed imperial interests. The annexation 
manifesto of 1849 was supported for reasons of commercial interest by a class which had 
just been claiming a monopoly of genuine loyalty. The imperialist sentiment of Canadian 
manufacturers at the Ottawa Economic Conference of 1932 was not very noticeable. 

2 See above, pp. 75 ff. 



I N the preceding discussion of Canada’s position in the 
Commonwealth, the question of neutrality has frequently 
arisen. As the international situation deteriorates and an¬ 
other world war seems to draw closer, the rights and duties 
of Canada in time of war are increasingly being discussed by 


Historically, Canada has always felt free to keep out of 
minor wars in which Great Britain might be engaged, but 
not free to keep out of major wars. Sir John Macdonald re¬ 
fused to lend Great Britain aid during the Khartoum incident 
in 1884, and in an interesting letter to Sir Charles Tupper he 
put forward the sensible proposal that “the reciprocal aid to 
be given by the colonies to England should be a matter of 
treaty deliberately entered into and settled on a permanent 
basis”. 1 Sir Wilfrid Laurier distinguished between the “life 
and death struggle” and the “secondary wars” of England, 
holding that Canada was obliged to engage in the former 
only. 2 Mr. King took an isolationist stand, implying a right 
to non-participation, in the Chanaq affair in 1922. Events 
since then have shown that England may have obligations of 
a major kind in Europe which Canada does not share. Im¬ 
pliedly Canadian non-participation in a major war in which 
Great Britain might be involved was admitted in the 
Locarno Treaty. The Imperial Conference declaration in 
1926, that the members of the British Commonwealth were 
“autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal 
in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect 
of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common 
allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the 
British Commonwealth of Nations" , logically contained within 

iCited MacKay and Rogers, Canada Looks Abroad, p. 73. 

2See below, p. 136, n. 1. 



l ) 


it the concept of neutrality in any war. The Statute of West¬ 
minster in 1931 legalized Dominion legislative independence 
and set the seal on the new constitution of the Common¬ 
wealth. But as it dealt with legislative and not executive 
power, and as it gave Canada no capacity to amend the 
B. N. A. Act, it did not clarify the specific issue. 

In 1933, at the first British Commonwealth Relations 
Conference, the question of neutrality was side-stepped by 
the ingenious device of suggesting that it was “academic” 
and ‘unprofitable” to consider “legal conceptions as to war 
and neutrality appropriate to the pre-League world”. 1 Al¬ 
ready in that year, however, a formal political declaration of 
a policy of neutrality for Canada was enunciated by the 
newly-organized farmer-labour party, the Co-operative 
Commonwealth Federation, in its party manifesto. Many 
people in Canada were making up their minds to neutrality 
while the more bashful Commonwealth representatives were 
refusing to consider the problem. It was obvious by that 
date that the “pre-League” world had become the post- 
League world. Since then the repeated assertions by the 
Canadian government that Parliament is “free to decide” 
the question of participation in empire wars when the mo¬ 
ment arises, is at once a recognition of the strength of this 
opinion in Canada and also an implied assumption that the 
freedom is unfettered by commitments. No serious discus¬ 
sion of the future of the British Commonwealth can now 
avoid facing squarely the problem of neutrality for its 

The question that now presents itself is not peculiar to 
Canada. It requires, indeed, an answer from every member 
of the Commonwealth, though it is not essential that these 
answers should be all the same, since Australia and New 
Zealand might well feel that their geographical position and 
interests compel them to a different solution from that which 

iToynbee, A. J. (ed.), British Commonwealth Relations , p. 181. Three classes of people in 
Canada describe talk of neutrality as “academic”: those who do not want the subject dis¬ 
cussed at all; those who, like Prof. F. H. Underhill, (see Anderson, Violet (ed.), World 
Currents and Canada’s Course , p. 130) feel that the Canadian people will be denied any choice 
when war starts by reason of existing commitments to intervene; and others who believe 
that, however legally Canada might assert her neutrality, the chance of maintaining it 
against potential foes would be negligible. It seems clear, however, that if a country ever 
wishes to remain neutral, the existence or otherwise of the right is a matter of some practical 



might be suitable for South Africa or Canada. The answer 
involves a choice between differing concepts of Common¬ 
wealth. Is the Commonwealth necessarily and for every 
member an offensive-defensive alliance? 1 Must every do¬ 
minion support ultimately by armed force the foreign policy 
of the British government regardless of whether there is any 
possibility of controlling that policy? To put it more simply 
for 1938, has the Conservative party of Great Britain the 
power to declare war for every dominion? Or is the Com¬ 
monwealth to be thought of as fulfilling the terms of the 
definition of 1926, namely, a free association of states com¬ 
pletely independent in every matter of domestic and foreign 
policy? If the Balfour formula means what it says, it means 
that the right to neutrality is necessarily a part of the con¬ 
cept of the modern Commonwealth. Certainly the dominions 
cannot be equal to Great Britain if the government of that 
country can put them into a war, while their own govern¬ 
ments have no such power. 

It is not proposed to argue here whether or not the right 
to neutrality exists for Canada as a matter of law. The point 
is contentious, but the overwhelming weight of authority 
takes the view that legally the state of technical belligerency 
is created in the Dominion by a British declaration of war. 8 
The argument for Canada’s immediate commitment is 
stronger than that made out for dominions like Eire and 
the Union of South Africa, which have adopted legisla¬ 
tion enabling them to control fully their own foreign affairs; 
the former country has even got rid of the special privileges 
for British naval vessels in its harbours. In any case, 
domestic changes within the Commonwealth as to how the 
royal prerogative may be exercised can have no effect on the 
international community, and unless the right is recognized 

lEven the term “alliance” is improper to describe the existing situation. An alliance 
presupposes sovereign states, voluntarily entering into a compact. The present obligation 
of the dominions to take part in British wars is not a matter of agreement between equals 
but a relic of colonial status. A colony is necessarily at war when its governing authority 
declares it to be so. 

2See MacKay and Rogers, Canada Looks Abroad, chap. XV. See also Kennedy, W.P. M., 
The Constitution of Canada, 2nd ed. (Toronto, 1938), pp. 540 ff.; Corbett, P. E., “Isolation 
for Canada”, University of Toronto Quarterly, 1936, p. 120; Keith, A. B., The Governments 
of the British Empire (London, 1935), p. 99, Constitutional Law of the British Dominions 
(London, 1933), p. 70; Hancock, W. K., Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs, vol. I, 
(London, 1937), p. 305; Scott,E.R.,“Canada and the Outbreak of War”, Canadian Forum, 
June, 1937. Contra, Ewart, J. S., 1932 Canadian Bar Review, 495; Burchell, C. T.,in MacKay 
and Rogers, op. cit., pp. 241 ff. 



abroad it is of little value. Nothing has been done officially 
by the Commonwealth to bring the existence of dominion 
autonomy in peace and war to the attention of foreign 


Most people in Canada, at the present moment are divided 
on, and confused about, the question of neutrality. They 
have not been taught to distinguish between the right to neu¬ 
trality and a policy of neutrality, while the subtle differences 
between passive and active belligerency escape them alto¬ 
gether. A great many either do not see that the achievement 
of the right is an essential prerequisite for the exercise of a 
free choice—a choice that may just as easily be in favour of 
supporting Great Britain as of neutrality—or else they be¬ 
lieve they already have the right and think that further dis¬ 
cussion is an attempt to tie Canada to a permanent policy of 
neutrality. The political leaders have generally refrained 
from clarifying the issue, and have used language that is 
capable of contradictory interpretations. Mr. King has been 
most explicit, yet every statement he has made implies the 
existence of the right to neutrality, without discussing how 
it has been achieved or how it may be exercised. His attitude 
is succinctly expressed in this sentence: “It will be for this 
parliament to say in any given situation whether or not 
Canada shall remain neutral." 1 A state which “remains” 
neutral until parliament decides obviously is not made a 
belligerent by action of the British government. Again, on 
his return from the Imperial Conference of 1937, Mr. King 
said that the “full and untrammelled responsibility of the 
Canadian parliament for decision on the vital issues of 
foreign policies and defence was completely maintained 
throughout. It was made clear in the conference discussions 
that Canada was not committed to joining in any Imperial 
or any league military undertakings, and equally, that there 
was no commitment against such participation.” 2 Despite 
the ambiguity of the term “participation” the whole tenor 

ICanada, House of Commons Debates, January 25, 1937, pp. 249-50. Italics added. 

*July 19; cited, Canada, House of Commons Debates, April 1, 1938 (unrevised), p. 2092. 



of the statement implies that Canada has control over the 
declaration of war. 

Against these statements of the Prime Minister are, as has 
been said, the opinions of nearly all the constitutional au¬ 
thorities. Moreover, Mr. Lapointe, the Minister of Justice, 
has acknowledged that Canada is automatically committed 
to a state of passive belligerency. 1 He has not, however, ex¬ 
plained how “active” passive belligerency must be. For, as¬ 
suming that no right to neutrality exists, Canada’s legal 
relations with the enemy state are drastically changed with¬ 
out Canada’s consent by a British declaration of war. The 
decision to send troops may be discretionary, but other vital 
matters are not. Automatic and complete economic sanctions 
against England’s enemy legally go into force, for example, 
even before the Canadian parliament meets to decide its 
course of action. It would be illegal for any Canadian to 
trade with the enemy after the outbreak of war, since trading 
with the enemy is a crime. This is surely “active participa¬ 
tion”, yet it has never been so much as mentioned in any 
governmental statement of policy. Canada has also under¬ 
taken to allow the British government the use of the har¬ 
bours of Halifax and Esquimalt for naval purposes, and this 
agreement is inconsistent with a neutral position. 2 Passive 
belligerency would thus, in the opinion of most people, be 
certain to become active participation. For this reason the 
present Canadian policy of laissez-faire as regards the right 
to neutrality would work out as a continuation of the tradi¬ 
tional policy of participation. 

Some Canadians who admit that this analysis is probably 
correct would reply that it is mostly irrelevant, since even if 
the right to neutrality were conceded and Canada tried to 
remain neutral, she would inevitably be dragged in, like the 
United States in 1917, if the war continued for long. There 
is no doubt much force in this contention. It is not safe to 
assume, however, that attempts at neutrality armed with 

iHe has said: “There is all the difference in the world between neutrality, and participa¬ 
tion or non-participation, which we shall be always free to declare, in the event of any war. 
. . . But neutrality is quite different. . . . This question as to the right of the dominions 
to be neutral is one of the questions yet to be solved. . . .** Canada, House of Commons 
Debates, February 4, 1937, p. 547. 

2The text of the Canadian government’s undertaking is given in House of Commons, 
Sessional Papers , 1937, No. 285; also in MacKay and Rogers, op. cit., p. 299. 



more detailed legislative support than has existed hitherto 
will be useless in the future. And the real importance of the 
right to neutrality, from the Commonwealth point of view, is 
psychological. If Canada is involved in a war at its outset 
just because of the legal ties and their consequences, a great 
number of Canadians will vent their indignation upon the 
Commonwealth connection, whereas if they are dragged into 
the war otherwise they will have only themselves and the 
world situation to blame. A concession of the right would 
thus appear to be a safeguard for Commonwealth as well as 
for Canadian unity. 1 

Various factors, amongst which the creation of the 
Spanish Non-Intervention Committee in 1936 was perhaps 
the chief, led the Canadian government in 1937 to arm itself 
with wide powers for keeping Canadians from participating 
in foreign (i.e. non-British) wars or civil wars which might 
involve the peace of the country. Two statutes were passed 
by the Dominion parliament in that year, containing per¬ 
manent provisions capable of application in any future 
situation. The first was the Foreign Enlistment Act. 2 This 
substantially re-enacted for Canada the provisions of the 
imperial Foreign Enlistment Act of 1870, and gave the 
Dominion government power to prohibit the enlistment of 
Canadians in foreign armies either during a war or a civil 
war. The second amended the Customs Act 3 so as to give 
the government discretionary power in peace or war to “Pro¬ 
hibit, restrict or control the exportation, generally or to any 
destination, directly or indirectly, or the carrying coastwise 
or by inland navigation, of arms, ammunition, implements 
or munitions of war, military, naval or air stores, or any 
article deemed capable of being converted thereinto or made 
useful in the production thereof, or provisions or any sort 

iSome Canadians believe that foreign countries would refuse to recognize Canadian 
neutrality. Obviously the decision of enemies of Great Britain would be based on their 
conception of their own interest. Normally it would be to their interest to be at peace 
with Canada, though they would probably wish to interfere with trade coming from Canada 
and such interference might well lead to war unless Canada were content to submit quietly, 
like the Scandinavian countries from 1914 to 1918. Here again it is well to remember that 
50 per cent, of Canadian trade is carried in British vessels, 37^ per cent, in foreign and 
12 Yi per cent, in Canadian vessels. 

2 Statutes of Canada, 1937, cap. 32. It is interesting that the Canadian government 
introduced a Foreign Enlistment Act in 1875, but later withdrew it. 

3 Statutes of Canada , 1937, cap. 24, sec. 10. 



of victual which may be used as food by man or beast . . . 
The Dominion government exercised its new powers under 
this legislation in the summer of 1937 when the acts were 
made applicable to Spain. 

The present policy of Canada is a threefold one of em¬ 
phasizing Parliament’s freedom of choice without explaining 
what it means, providing legislation to assist neutrality in 
non-British wars, and proceeding with military preparations 
which lend themselves to some form of participation in the 
next war in which the Commonwealth is engaged. This policy 
appears acceptable to most Canadians, since the imperialists 
believe it gives them what they want and most of the others 
fail to perceive the degree to which it leaves them com¬ 
mitted. If one looks for indications of opinion in the country, 
however, it is evident that a great body of opinion would 
favour the possession by Canada of the right to neutrality, 
so that the Canadian parliament could decide on each oc¬ 
casion what foreign policy it should pursue in the event of 
any war. Certainly French Canadians take this view, and 
they constitute 30 per cent, of the population. Of the re¬ 
maining 70 per cent, another 20 per cent, is of non-British 
origin, and can scarcely feel a sentimental obligation to take 
part in every British war. In numerous bodies and associa¬ 
tions representing different groups of English-Canadian 
opinion (farmer and labour groups, trades union meetings, 
university student conferences, etc. 1 ) during the past few 
years, resolutions have been adopted either calling explicitly 
for the right or else advocating a foreign policy which im¬ 
plied that the right existed. 

It appears reasonable to assume that a considerable ma¬ 
jority of the people of Canada believe either that the 
Dominion has or that it should have the right to remain 
neutral whenever it so desires. There would not be so strong 
a support as this for a definite policy of neutrality, which 
would tie the hands of the government in advance, although, 

iSee, for instance, C. C. F. statement, cited MacKay and Rogers, op. cit., p. 387; resolu¬ 
tion of United Farmers of Ontario, 1936, and petition of 13,000 university students in 1937 
asking for clarification of the legal situation. The Trades and Labour Congress of Canada 
voted in 1937 in favour of holding a referendum before Canada takes part in any future wars. 



as pointed out below, isolationist sentiment has grown 
greatly in strength during the past seven years. 1 


The right to neutrality is inherent in the principle of 
equal status. It may well be argued that the time seems to 
have arrived when this principle should be given its full 
effect in the international sphere, for it is now abundantly 
clear that no collective system of international security exists 
to render neutrality obsolete. Already constitutional writers 
are beginning to picture the state of affairs which would pre¬ 
vail were the dominions to acquire this further attribute of 
sovereignty. A single Crown common to all the members, but 
acting for each on the advice of the particular government 
concerned whether in peace or in war, would be the basis of 
the Commonwealth constitution. The citizens of each mem¬ 
ber country, while possessing the common status of British 
subjects for certain purposes of intra-Commonwealth co¬ 
operation, would also possess a separate nationality for pur¬ 
poses of international intercourse. Such ideas are not new to 
the Commonwealth; to extend them to situations of peace 
and war is merely to develop existing practices to a further 

From the point of view of Canada, the change would re¬ 
quire an abandonment of the present agreement regarding 
the use of the harbours of Halifax and Esquimalt by British 
naval vessels, an extension (though not necessarily to every 
country) of the Canadian diplomatic service, and the transfer 
of the remaining imperial prerogatives over foreign affairs 
from London to Ottawa. For the Commonwealth as a whole 
the change would best be effected after an agreement arrived 
at in an Imperial Conference, followed by formal notification 
to every foreign government of the new situation. The right 
having been established, individual dominions could then 
make separate agreements with Great Britain or with one 

ISeepage 135, below. Mr. J. S. Woodsworth’s motion in the House of Commons in 1937 
calling for a policy of neutrality would have left the government no option but one of 
isolation in the event of war; its defeat therefore did not involve a parliamentary decision 
as to the advisability of acquiring the right of neutrality. See Canada, House of Commons 
Debates, January 25 and 28, and February 4, 1937. 



another on matters of defence if they so desired. The regional 
grouping and interests of dominions would find effect within 
the Commonwealth according to the natural geographic and 
economic inclinations of the different members. Even those 
dominions which gained the right of neutrality but entered 
into no new commitments for defence, would still be as free 
as they are now to participate in Commonwealth wars. The 
Commonwealth would not be disrupted; it would, on the 
contrary, have achieved a peaceful change according to the 
best democratic tradition, and clarified a constitutional 
situation which is now clouded with doubt and uncertainty. 
It would have made a decision calmly and without ill-feeling 
which may otherwise have to be made in the stress of a 
sudden emergency. Thenceforth the Commonwealth as a 
whole could not be imperilled, as it can be at present, through 
the pursuit by a particular British government of a foreign 
policy which might involve England in war and yet meet 
with the strong disapproval of some or all of the dominion 

Those who argue that to discuss and plan for neutrality 
is to invite disruption of the Commonwealth, are repeating 
today an argument that has been steadily used to oppose or 
postpone every application of the democratic principle to the 
government of the former British colonies. 1 It is, on the con¬ 
trary, highly dangerous to leave so delicate a question to be 
decided under threat of hostilities. A claim to the right of 
neutrality advanced at the beginning of a war, without gen¬ 
eral consent and when emotions were strongly aroused, 
might well be interpreted as secession. Even under the 
serious though less critical international situation which 
exists today, were Canada to make a unilateral declaration 
it would be interpreted in some quarters, no doubt, as im¬ 
plying a more complete withdrawal from the Commonwealth 
orbit than is intended by many of those who advocate 
acquisition of the right of neutrality. Such interpretations 
have been made of other steps toward dominion autonomy. 

iThe argument that greater freedom for the dominions strengthens rather than weakens 
the Commonwealth is well expressed in The British Empire (Royal Institute of Inter¬ 
national Affairs Study Group Report) (London, 1937), pp. 230-1. As was said by B. K. 
Long in Willert, (Sir) A., Hodson, H. V., and Long, B. K., The Empire in the World (London, 
1937), p. 125, “Discussion and recognition of the most far-reaching dominion rights can 
only do good”. 


An agreement about neutrality reached by Commonwealth 
discussion in time of peace, however, need not involve any 
such threat of secession. Nor need constitutional changes in 
Canada, by which Ottawa secured the same degree of control 
as have South Africa and Eire over all kinds of treaties and 
documents affecting them to which the King’s name must 
be appended, produce any more disturbance in the Common¬ 
wealth than occurred when those dominions added these 
functions to their powers of self-government, which many 
claim to have made neutrality legally possible. 






T HE student of Canadian affairs who understands the 
mixed nature of the Canadian population, the world¬ 
wide distribution of Canadian foreign trade, and the 
conflicting pulls of British sentiment and North American 
geography, will not be surprised to find that Canadian 
foreign policy lacks a clear and positive direction. Any gov¬ 
ernment at Ottawa which must make decisions on inter¬ 
national affairs is speaking for a political party which repre¬ 
sents every section of the country and of the people, and 
therefore every principal difference of opinion. In no field 
of political life is Andre Siegfried’s comment on Canadian 
statesmen more true, that they “fear great movements of 
opinion, and seek to lull them rather than to encourage them 
and bring them to fruition”. Politicians must find a policy 
which will be supported, in its main lines, not only by a 
majority of the people of Canada, but by a majority of the 
members of each of the two major racial groups in Canada. 
Too definite a stand, it seems evident, will simply transfer 
every international quarrel to Canadian shores and produce 
two antagonistic camps within the country, as happened 
with the attempt to enforce conscription in 1917. In short, 
the internal political situation is such that instead of ham¬ 
mering out a policy at party caucuses or conventions and 
then putting it before the public for their acceptance or re¬ 
jection, Canadian politicians have preferred to let the event, 
at the last moment, determine the policy. 

A consequence of this fear in the political leaders is that 
the Canadian public is largely ignorant of, and confused 
about, questions of foreign policy. This is less true of the 
French Canadians; they are not better informed, but they 


1 1 



have at least a clear, simple policy of isolation from all 
foreign wars and entanglements. The majority of English- 
speaking Canadians have not, except in some quarters and 
quite recently, given conscious thought to the question of 
what foreign policy Canada should follow. Even the mem¬ 
bers of parliament devote little time to the problem. The 
Prime Minister, with all his other duties, is still carrying the 
responsibilities of the Secretary of State for External Affairs, 
and there is no effective parliamentary committee for de¬ 
tailed discussion of policy. IVfost of the debates that have 
occurred in the past three years have been due to pressure 
from the small C. C. F. group or other independents in the 
House of Commons. 1 Undoubtedly such bodies as the 
Canadian Institute of International Affairs, the League of 
Nations Society, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corpora¬ 
tion through its discussions and nation-wide broadcasting of 
lectures, coupled with the seriousness of the threat of war, 
are helping in the building of an informed opinion, but the 
subject can still be kept well in the background of political 

At the same time a certain kind of foreign policy, though 
not consciously planned and selected, is given to Canada 
ready-made by facts of history, race, geography and eco¬ 
nomics. Proximity to the United States, constitutional and 
sentimental ties with Great Britain, geographic isolation 
from centres of world conflict, the necessity for extensive 
foreign markets, and more recently membership in the 
League of Nations, are basic influences determining the di¬ 
rection in which she is likely to move. 2 The absence of a 
nationally chosen foreign policy, therefore, does not mean the 
absence of a foreign policy, but rather it means a policy of 
drift in whatever direction these forces may impel the coun¬ 
try at a given moment. Prior to 1914 the colonial status of 
Canada made the empire tie the predominant factor in 
every critical situation; the unity of the empire meant that 
in practice Canadian policy was inevitably what the British 
Foreign Office determined it should be on every major issue. 

lOn this whole question see Chapters XII and XIII in MacKay and Rogers, op. cit. 

T R-Z'The Permanent Bases of Canadian Foreign Policy”, Foreign Affairs, 




The insistence upon separate membership in the League of 
Nations, and the insistence on the progressive evolution of 
dominion status, were the first occasions on which Canada 
asserted a policy which might be called original. Yet once in 
the League Canada tended to follow rather than to lead, her 
only distinctive contribution being the early attempts to 
water down the obligations of the covenant as to sanctions. 
Now that Geneva has ceased to be a centre of major world 
affairs Canada is thrust back more upon her own initiative; 
the covenant gives little guidance upon policy, and theo¬ 
retically the British Foreign Office makes no binding com¬ 
mitments for Canada. Thus, for the first time in her history, 
Canada is now faced with the full responsibilities of an 
autonomous state in a world of international anarchy. 

In face of this new situation, the full implications of which 
are only beginning to be realized, certain fairly well defined 
groups of opinion can be discerned in Canada, centering 
around the three possible policies of non-intervention in 
foreign wars, imperialism or a British front policy, and col¬ 
lective security. These groups, it should be noticed, by no 
means differ on all points of foreign policy. They are all 
agreed that Canada must continue to trade in world mar¬ 
kets—this means that there are no economic isolationists or 
“autarchists” in Canada. Again, nearly all their supporters 
are agreed that friendly relations with the United States, 
membership in the Commonwealth, and membership in the 
League should continue, though the non-interventionists 
insist that neither membership should involve commitments. 
The differences between these groups narrow down to ques¬ 
tions of emphasis in policy and particularly to the problem 
of economic and military action in wars abroad. 1 

The non-interventionists (who generally call themselves 
isolationists though they do not envisage breaking all ties 
with foreign countries) are opposed to Canada’s participating 
in overseas wars, whether for the League or for the Com¬ 
monwealth. Canada’s contribution to world peace, they feel, 

lCanadian writers vary in their estimate of the number of these groups. Mr. J. W. 
Dafoe listed three in 1936 (Foreign Affairs, January, 1936) but five in 1937 (World Currents 
and Canada’s Course, p. 144). Hon. Ian Mackenzie, Minister of National Defence, names 
five (House of Commons Debates, March 24, 1938). Prof. Underhill boils them down to 
two—those who want to take part in the next European war and those who don’t. 


is best made by her staying quietly at home and minding her 
own business. Her work for humanity is to develop her 
resources and to make them available to all in the markets of 
the world. She has no enemies, save those which the British 
connection or League obligations may make for her. People 
who want her raw materials can buy them freely enough. 
She can provide for her own defence, and can go peacefully 
on her own way, they feel, with every bit as much safety as 
any other American nation. Some non-interventionists 
would be isolationist as against Europe and the Far East 
only; they would welcome a development of Pan-American¬ 
ism for the better co-operation of all people in the two Amer¬ 
icas, believing that here a regional security system is both 
feasible and desirable. 

The imperialist or “British front” school believe that the 
Commonwealth is still a unit as far as primary issues of policy 
are concerned. Whether the relationship between the mem¬ 
bers be called an alliance, an entente or a partnership, it 
requires, they feel, that the dominions and Great Britain 
should stand or fall together in any emergency, and pur¬ 
sue parallel policies on major world issues. This opinion 
tends to view the United States with suspicion (though some 
would hope to see an “Anglo-Saxon front” emerge) and to 
dismiss the League of Nations as an impossible dream in a 
world of hard realities. There are shades of opinion within 
this imperialist camp, however, and many who formerly 
supported a League policy for Canada have reverted to the 
imperialist position, either because they believe a strong 
Commonwealth is the best alternative to a League, or be¬ 
cause they think that the Commonwealth may be the 
foundation on which the collective system can be rebuilt in 
the future. Sometimes, making the best of both worlds, the 
spokesmen for a British front policy speak of “collective 
security within the Empire”. 1 

The third policy for Canada, which still has many ad¬ 
herents despite its vanishing chances of realization, is a 
policy based on the idea of a revived League of Nations, 
leading eventually to the re-establishment of the collective 

lE.g. Senator Griesbach, in Queen’s Quarterly, Spring, 1937. 




system of security. The supporters of this policy would hold 
that peace is indivisible and cannot be maintained by armed 
alliances, British or other. They believe that nothing has 
failed at Geneva except the statesmanship of the great 
powers, amongst which they would include Great Britain as 
a chief offender. British foreign policy ever since the Na¬ 
tional government took office in 1931 seems to them to have 
displayed the worst features of the old, secret diplomacy and 
imperialist “power politics’ ’ which they thought the English 
people had renounced when they subscribed to the covenant. 
The toleration of Japanese aggression in Manchuria in 1931, 
the indifference to Hitler’s rearmament programme in 1933 
and to his remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the 
making of a private naval treaty with Germany in 1935, the 
cold-blooded nature of the Hoare-Laval Treaty regarding 
Abyssinia and the backing-down over sanctions, the farce 
of non-intervention in Spain and Mr. Chamberlain’s new 
policy of collaboration with the League’s arch-enemies, have 
produced in them a profound distrust of British influence in 
the present international situation. Canadian policy in the 
past they recognize also as having been short-sighted and 
selfish at Geneva but her greater remoteness from the issues 
and the small weight that her voice can carry, while not 
excusing her from blame, free her in their eyes from any 
major responsibility for the League debacle. Many people, 
formerly of this collectivist opinion, their faith in a revived 
League being dead, have turned to a temporary isolationism 
rather than to imperialism as the present best policy for 
Canada. Having once raised their loyalty to the height of a 
world system they cannot accept as a substitute an empire 
alliance based merely on race and history and constantly in¬ 
triguing to keep itself on the stronger side of a European 
balance of power. Other League supporters are hoping 
against hope that a positive alliance between existing League 
members, committed first to a stopping of further aggression 
and then to the progressive strengthening of the various 
organs of League co-operation, may yet arise out of the pres¬ 
ent chaos. To this they would wish Canada to lend her full 


These three groups and their subdivisions include all those 
parts of the population which have thought about foreign 
affaire. There is in addition a large number of individuals 
who have not accepted any of these positions, and who drift 
along without positive direction, capable of being driven into 
one or another of the camps by the trend of the news and 
the pressure of popular feeling. This unattached opinion is 
content that Canada should continue playing the minor part 
she now plays, and believes she is reserving her own freedom 
to act as seems best when the moment for action comes. It 
is the way this opinion swings which will largely determine 
Canada s course of action should a war occur; those who can 
control the swing will probably control the bulk of opinion. 

Estimates of public opinion are risky undertakings, but 
the association of particular policies with particular racial 
groups in Canada enables one to arrive at some sort of ap¬ 
proximation of the numbers supporting an isolationist posi¬ 
tion at the present time. The French Canadians are almost 
wholly isolationist. Probably half of the 2,000,000 other 
persons of non-British origin are still too alien to British 
ideas or too opposed to British policy to favour European 
commitments. This makes approximately 4,000,000, or 
nearly 40 per cent, of the total population. To these must 
now be added an unnumbered but substantial group of 
people of British origin who, partly through the disillusion¬ 
ment following the last war and the breakdown of the 
League, partly through longer associations with North 
America, and for other reasons, 1 have moved into the 
isolationist position. In terms of mere numbers, it is not un¬ 
reasonable to place in this group today fully half the popu¬ 
lation of Canada. 2 Many in the other half will turn isola¬ 
tionist if British policy continues during the next few years 
to be what it has been since 1931. Whereas up to 1914 the 
official attitude of Canada, should Great Britain be involved 

l^eft-wing political groups, apart from Communists, are inclined to isolationism. Then 
there are nearly 400,000 Irish Catholics in Canada, a fair portion of whom have no fondness 
ior the British connection. 

iQQ 7 Senat ° r Mo ! loy .estimated 90 per cent, of the Canadian people to be isolationist in 
i?etI^ Se june 0t f937 n p 1 ^9 Ward ’ F * H -’“ Canada and Forei S n Affairs”, Canadian Historical 


in a major war in Europe, was “Ready, aye, ready”, 1 today 
it is one of “No commitments”, either for or against inter¬ 
vention. This is the political recognition given to isolationist 

Yet once again it must be remembered that the strength of 
the imperialist position is not in its surface showings but in 
its underlying controls. Its real power is found partly in its 
instinctive appeal to the ancient loyalties of the British half 
of Canada, partly in its occupation of those offices in govern¬ 
ment, industry, finance, the army, the church and the press 
which will enable it to crystallize opinion and formulate 
policy when a decision must be made, and partly also in that 
complex of relationships—constitutional ties, absence of the 
right to neutrality, co-operation in defence arrangements, 
adaptation of Canadian industry to British armament re¬ 
quirements, etc.—which contains within it by implication 
the whole of the imperialist policy, and which Canada can 
scarcely be expected suddenly to scrap when the moment of 
crisis has arisen. Against these pulls the arguments of the 
isolationists are likely to be of little avail. There will be no 
referendum at that moment to discover the opinion of the 
human beings who inhabit Canada; critical decisions will be 
made in a number of places outside of parliament where 
imperialist sentiment prevails; and inside parliament, where 
the major decision must be taken, the total French-Canadian 
and foreign group which is most isolationist holds only about 
25 per cent, of the seats. 

This analysis of Canadian sentiment toward foreign affairs 
has been given as a background against which can be set the 
present official policy of the Canadian government. Since 
1937 it has been comparatively easy to outline the basic 
points of Mr. King’s foreign policy, for in that year Mr. 
Escott Reid, national secretary of the Canadian Institute of 

l“If there were an emergency, if England were in danger—no, I will not use that ex¬ 
pression; I will not say if England were in danger, but simply if England were on trial with 
one or two or more of the great powers of Europe, my right hon. friend might come and ask, 
not $35,000,000, but twice, three times, four times $35,000,000. We would put at the dis¬ 
posal of England all the resources of Canada; there would not be a single dissentient voice." 
Sir Wilfrid Eaurier, Canada, House of Commons Debates, Dec. 12, 1912, cited Dawson, R. 
MacG., The Development of Dominion Status, 1900-1936 (London, 1937), p. 167. Compare 
Sir W. Laurier’s statement in the House of Commons, Feb. 5, 1900, cited Dawson, op. cit., 
p. 135: . . If England at any time were engaged in struggle for life and death, the 

moment the bugle was sounded or the fire was lit on the hills, the colonies would rush to the 
aid of the mother country.” 



International Affairs, made a summary of the policy as he 
ound it m Mr. King’s speeches and decisions on international 
affairs, and Mr. King remarked in parliament that the sum¬ 
mary was ‘‘a very good statement of some of the features of 
Canada s foreign policy”. The principles enumerated were: 

1. The guiding principle in the formulation of Canada’s foreign 
policy should be the maintenance of the unity of Canada as a nation. 

2. Canada s foreign policy is, in the main, not a matter of Canada’s 
relations to the League, but of Canada’s relations to the United 
Kingdom and the United States. 

3. Canada should, as a general rule, occupy a back seat at Geneva 
or elsewhere when European or Asiatic problems are being discussed. 

4. Canada is under no obligation to participate in the military 
sanctions of the League or in the defence of any other part of the 

5. Canada is under no obligation to participate in the economic 
sanctions of the League. 

. ®’. _® e I° re the Canadian government agrees in future to participate 
in military or economic sanctions or in war, the approval of the parlia¬ 
ment or people of Canada will be secured. 

, Canada is willing to participate in international inquiries into 
international economic grievances. 

Mr. King’s only criticism of this statement was that “pos¬ 
sibly it stresses too much what has to do with possible wars 
and participation in war, and does not emphasize enough . . . 
what has been done in the way of trade policies and removal 
of causes of friction between this and other countries”. It 
would therefore seem proper to add to the last principle Mr. 
Reid’s own amendment 2 to the effect that “Canada should 
pursue, within the measure of its power, ‘the attempt to 
bring international trade gradually back to a sane basis, to 
lessen the throttling controls and barriers’ ”. This endeavour 
is one that Mr. King has pursued with some success. Finally, 
to complete the summary of present policy, there should per¬ 
haps be added an eighth principle deducible from Mr. King’s 
attitude during 1937, that whenever Great Britain and other 
powers chiefly interested agree to plans for localizing a war 

1 ‘Canada and the Threat of War”, University of Toronto Quarterly , January, 1937, p. 
243, quoted in Soward, “Canada and Foreign Affairs” (op. cit.), p. 195. Mr. Reid discussed 
the policy further in “Mr. Mackenzie King’s Foreign Policy, 1935-36”, Canadian Journal 
of Economics and Political Science, February, 1937, p. 86. 

2In the last quoted article, at p. 97. 




between states or a civil war, the Canadian government is 
willing to accede to such proposals provided they fall short 
of military commitments. 1 

It will be observed how this policy takes account of the 
permanent factors in Canada's background and environ¬ 
ment, and how it gives expression to the important groups 
of opinion in Canada without offending those of opposite 
views. The * ‘maintenance of the unity of the nation" means 
that Ottawa cannot embark upon a foreign policy which will 
so divide French and English, or Catholic and Protestant, as 
to threaten the existence of the federal union; foreign policy 
must always be tested by its effect on domestic unity, just 
as much as by its effect on Commonwealth unity or League 
unity. The second principle states a fact resulting from 
history and geography; Canada's relations with the United 
Kingdom and the United States (both considered, be it 
noted, as 4 ‘foreign" policy) are of prime importance, and her 
policy at Geneva must not strain these relationships too far. 
The proposition that Canada should occupy a “back seat" at 
Geneva with regard to Europe and Asia is in line with the 
growing feeling that Canada is essentially a North American 
nation which should follow rather than lead in the solution 
of problems in remote continents. The fourth, fifth and sixth 
principles are a declaration of complete freedom from com¬ 
mitments to sanctions of any sort in any war; they conform 
to the rising tide of sentiment in Canada which is convinced 
that whatever decision is made on such vital matters should 
be one freely entered into to secure the best interests of 
Canada when all the factors, domestic as well as foreign, are 
considered. The seventh principle, the willingness to seek 
economic co-operation, is a prime necessity for any country 
as heavily committed as Canada to external trade. Finally, 
the participation in schemes to localize war means that in 
general such plans, when initiated by other powers, are 
likely to receive Canadian support. 

While thus showing clearly the motives from which it 
springs, this present Canadian foreign policy, like that of 
most democratic nations today, shows a lack of positive 

1A description of the new neutrality legislation is given above, p. 125. 


direction and of long-range vision. It is principally one of 
preserving traditional relationships while subtracting their 
commitments, 1 and of a “wait and see” attitude for the 
future.. It is a policy which enables politicians to postpone 
the evil day of decision, which may seem a good thing for 
the politicians but is a poor one for the people, since it is the 
negation of the democratic method and means that when the 
decision must be made a foreign policy dictated by blind 
forces instead of conscious purposes will prevail. It has 
already been pointed out how slight Canada’s freedom of 
choice may turn out to be in so far as British wars are con¬ 
cerned, unless she takes steps in advance to make alternative 
courses possible. 


The present objectives of Canadian economic policy spring 
from the nature of the Canadian economy. That economy, 
as has been pointed out, requires a large export market for a 
comparatively few staple products, and at the same time has 
developed a number of secondary industries which demand 
continued tariff protection. The interests of the primary 
producers, particularly the wheat grower, call for a policy of 
freer trade, but the manufacturing interests are politically 
stronger and have never been seriously challenged in their 
tariff stronghold. Present Canadian commercial policy, seek¬ 
ing as it must for ever-widening export markets, is thus un¬ 
able to make concessions to foreign countries which would 
dislocate existing industries to any considerable extent. Two 
foreign markets are especially important to Canada—the 
United Kingdom and the United States; in both Canada 
holds a preferred position under the Ottawa agreements of 
1932 and the trade treaty of 1935, and the maintenance of 
this position is the bed-rock on which her policy rests. 

Because of the individualistic nature of the Canadian 
economy, economic policy is only in part, perhaps only in 

lit is to be noted that the “policy of no commitments” differs from the old imperial 
relationship and also (probably) has altered Canada’s obligations toward the League. As 
Mr. J. W. Dafoe has said, “The Canadian government’s only admitted ‘vital interest’ is 
the defence of Canada—beyond that it will consider what it is prudent and necessary to 
do when decisions can no longer be deferred. This is rejection, not only of League engage¬ 
ments, but of any obligation, legal, moral, implied or advisable towards the Commonwealth 
of British Nations or any nation member of the Commonwealth”. See Anderson, Violet 
(ed.), World Currents and Canada’s Course, pp. 147-8. 




small part, the creation of the government which the people 
elect. Canada exercises no control over her foreign trade in 
the sense that New Zealand does, where the government 
itself markets a considerable proportion of the exports 
through state boards. Every Canadian corporation is free to 
sell abroad where it will and at any prices it is able to get. 
Canadian financiers may invest Canadian funds in areas of 
their own choosing. For example, Canadian trade policy in 
the Far East has recently been to increase very rapidly the 
sale of such essentials to Japan as scrap iron, copper, nickel, 
lead and zinc, but this decision was not a government de¬ 
cision though it makes Canada an important factor in the 
Sino-Japanese dispute. So, too, there has been no parlia¬ 
mentary decision that Canada is to turn her resources to the 
manufacture of British armaments, though this is very 
definitely increasing Canada’s commitments in Europe, as 
did the manufacture of supplies for the Allies by United 
States manufacturers from 1914 to 1917 increase American 
commitments. In considering the objectives of Canadian 
economic policy, this distinction between what the Canadian 
government decides and what independent Canadian ex¬ 
porters decide must be borne in mind, for frequently Cana¬ 
dian policy in fact will be determined by the exporters rather 
than by the government. Foreign policy proper has been so¬ 
cialized, is decided upon by the cabinet and is carried out by 
government agents. Economic policy in the international 
field is a resultant of the combined effects of governmental 
action on the one hand and the trade agreements, carteliza¬ 
tions, marketing agreements and sales policies of Canadian 
corporations on the other. Once economic policy (public and 
private) has turned in a certain direction, foreign policy 
cannot easily take a different course. 

There is nothing isolationist in Canadian economic policy, 
however her foreign policy may show a trend in this direc¬ 
tion. The only instance of the “no commitment” doctrine in 
the economic sphere is in regard to Spain, to which country, 
as has been pointed out, the government applied its neu¬ 
trality legislation in the summer of 1937. Mr. Bennett went 
partially isolationist against the Soviet Union in 1931 when 



he placed an embargo on certain Russian imports, but Mr. 
King removed that embargo in 1936. Canadian industry is 
developing steadily, but not in the direction of economic self- 
sufficiency since its dependence on foreign trade increases 
rather than declines. The question whether it is possible to 
be politically isolationist while the economy is so largely 
geared to the war preparation requirements of great powers 
in Europe and the Far East is one which has received little 
attention in Canada, even from the isolationists themselves. 

So far as internal economic policy is concerned, it is diffi¬ 
cult to define any “national” objective. Giving a free hand 
to business but checking its worst abuses, while protecting 
workers and farmers against certain economic and social 
hazards, contains about all that can safely be put into such 
a phrase. Individual initiative and the profit motive are the 
dominant impulses to economic action. That these incentives, 
operating amidst Canada’s natural resources, will continu¬ 
ously raise the standard of living of an increasing population 
is the belief of a great majority of the people and proposals 
for national planning on a socialist scale are confined to left- 
wing minority political parties. 1 The idea that the first duty 
of the state is to see that the economy provides a basic 
standard of decent living for every citizen is not a political 
idea which either of Canada’s major parties has yet espoused. 
Mr. Bennett adopted part of this philosophy in his election 
campaign of 1935, but the economic policy of the succeeding 
government has been of a more laissez-faire variety. Canada 
has experienced nothing like so great a movement for social 
reform during the past decade as has, for instance, swept 
over the United States. Such reform parties as have been at 
all successful politically have been provincial rather than 
national, like Social Credit in Alberta and the Union Na¬ 
tional in Quebec, which undoubtedly came to power by 
capturing the demand for change. 

iThe League for Social Reconstruction has outlined its planning proposals in two books: 
Social Planning for Canada (Toronto, 1935), and Democracy Needs Socialism (Toronto, 1938). 



W HEN people form a political association they do so 
with some object in view. They may wish to unite 
against enemies, to escape from tyranny, to improve 
their economic condition, to glorify a race or a religion. 
Political unity may also be the obligatory unity of conqueror 
and conquered. Association may be less than complete unity, 
as in treaties of alliance or trade. Whatever form it may take, 
a political relationship expresses some definite purpose or aim. 
What the British Commonwealth is feeling for today is a 
new definition of its own purpose, which will be valid for its 
nationally autonomous members under modern world con¬ 

In the early days of the British Empire its growth and 
development were the result of racial expansion. The British 
peoples took to the sea and to foreign trade. They explored, 
conquered and settled in various parts of the world, some 
uninhabited, some inhabited. They sent their sons and 
daughters to build new homes in the new lands. The mo¬ 
tives of the individual settlers were various, but the venture 
as a whole was a national venture. In a world of independent 
national states, where force was the ultimate arbiter of inter¬ 
national disputes, this process of expansion and aggrandize¬ 
ment was purpose enough in itself. It brought prestige and 
power and by its mere existence made Britain great. 

This centralized empire could not last. It could not last 
because centralized government, under early conditions of 
transport and communication, was necessarily unrepresenta¬ 
tive of the distant territories, and the British people have 
never long tolerated autocratic government. Dominion 
autonomy was the inevitable product of the parliamentary 
British tradition. No person trained in that tradition could 
submit to having his life and destiny shaped by a govern- 


ment which he could not control, not even when it was a 
British government. The same spirit which made Englishmen 
behead one king and expel another in the seventeenth cen¬ 
tury, turned the colonies into autonomous dominions in the 
twentieth century. Independence of action proved that the 
dominions were British in spirit, not that they were anti- 
British. It was failure to recognize their own characteristics 
when displayed by Englishmen outside England which lost 
the English their American colonies. 

Today the old ideas of empire are dead in so far as the 
majority of Canadians are concerned. True, a strong body of 
imperialist tradition exists in Canada, which hankers after, 
perhaps believes in, the simple, old certainties of size and 
strength. But the continued enlargement of the empire, it 
need hardly be said, cannot be a part of dominion foreign 
policy. The sense of racial superiority which may come from 
seeing a map coloured largely in red or in thinking of the 
hundreds of millions of British subjects and of the unsetting 
British sun, is a feeling that any adult mind will want to elimi¬ 
nate rather than foster. Nor can the primitive slogan, '‘What 
we have we’ll hold”, act as a unifying principle for nations 
anxious to establish peace on a permanent foundation. The 
possibility that the Commonwealth, as it now exists, con¬ 
tributes to international insecurity through its failure to deal 
with the problems of colonies and raw materials must be 
frankly faced by every member. Appeals for joint action in 
matters of defence are equally inadequate as the basis of 
future co-operation; defence is only an instrument of policy, 
and not a policy in itself. Moreover, for Canada, the special 
assistance of the Commonwealth in defence matters is not 
at the moment essential. The principles on which the Com¬ 
monwealth can continue to co-operate in the future will have 
to be principles different in kind and quality from those 
which sufficed in the past. What, then, are such principles? 

In approaching this critical question care must be taken to 
avoid vague generalities. Since empire became Common¬ 
wealth, the preservation of peace has always been advanced 
as an aim of the Commonwealth association. So, too, has the 
maintenance of democracy. It is not questioning the sincerity 



of these pronouncements to point out that they do not 
necessarily produce co-operation. Whose peace is to be pre¬ 
served? Peace in Canada may best be secured in the opinion 
of many by avoiding all European wars. Democracy is 
further advanced in the Scandinavian countries which re¬ 
mained neutral in 1914 than in any of the countries which 
fought to make the world safe for democracy. The objectives 
of peace and freedom are undoubtedly objectives for the 
Commonwealth; the difficulty is that dominions may legiti¬ 
mately differ as to the best way of achieving these objectives. 

It will be simplest in exploring the possibilities of Com¬ 
monwealth co-operation from the Canadian point of view 
to start with the easier problems. It is beyond question a 
useful thing, both for the members of the Commonwealth 
and for the world, that between these members war is ex¬ 
tremely improbable. 1 The practice of settling intra-Com- 
monwealth disputes by negotiation and compromise is of 
great value to the partners in the association, and no doubt 
a good example to their fellow nations. The Commonwealth, 
by its mere existence as a large area of peace and peaceful 
change, performs a valuable function in a world society 
possessing too little of either. 

Within the Commonwealth there is at the moment a great 
deal of co-operation on a multitude of technical matters, 
each of considerable importance in its own field. This 11 quiet 
co-operation” 2 covers such things as copyright, statistics, 
customs, patents, education, cable and wireless communica¬ 
tions, workmen’s compensation, oil pollution of navigable 
waters, forestry, and merchant shipping. Laws have been 
harmonized, standards developed, research planned and in¬ 
formation exchanged. These forms of co-operation are ex¬ 
tremely useful, and the fact that they can occur more easily 
amongst a number of nations because of the Commonwealth 
tradition makes the Commonwealth itself of value. 

Underlying these various kinds of joint effort is the general 
idea of the progressive improvement of social and scientific 

lThe term “unthinkable”, though frequently used, should perhaps be limited to relations 
between the Anglo-Saxon communities in the Commonwealth. 

., 2 ^ ee a , us T eful . surv ey of it in The British Empire , a report by a study group of members of 
^ e r? R ?r' al ^ InStl , tUt ® of I uternational Affairs (London, 1937), chap. XII; also Palmer. 
O. L. H., Consultation and Co-operation in the British Commonwealth (London, 1934) 


conditions in Commonwealth countries. Each dominion 
government is endeavouring to solve its local problems, many 
of which are affected by conditions in some other part of the 
Commonwealth. Wherever this is so, co-operation becomes 
valuable. Co-operation with other foreign states may be 
equally valuable; the Commonwealth promotes co-operation 
because the will to mutual aid is stronger. 

In so far as the raising of the internal standard of living is a 
common objective for dominion governments, the existence 
of the Commonwealth is potentially of the greatest im¬ 
portance. A freer exchange of goods and services, a more co¬ 
operative and scientific development of Commonwealth re¬ 
sources and markets, can be made to benefit every member. 
British preference is a recognition of the common purpose of 
economic co-operation. There is, however, a danger lurking 
in any such scheme, the danger that a short-term benefit for 
the members may be secured at the expense of co-operation 
with foreign states. Nothing would be of less use to Canada, 
and it would seem to the Commonwealth as a whole, than an 
attempt to create an economic bloc out of the dominions, 
Great Britain and her dependencies. It has been pointed out 
that the Ottawa agreements have already evoked criticism 
from American and other sources. Economic co-operation 
remains a valuable principle of Commonwealth action if it is 
for the purpose of raising the general standard of living in 
Commonwealth countries (and not merely for the purpose of 
raising prices through production control) and if, in addition, 
it creates no obstacles to wider forms of world economic co¬ 
operation. If empire agreements are intended for the pur¬ 
pose of producing a bargaining power which can break down 
other nations’ trade barriers, they might lead eventually to 
an increase of world trade, but the difficulty of changing the 
direction of the trade they stimulate makes such results 
highly doubtful. 

In the matter of immigration, it has been shown how diffi¬ 
cult is Canada’s position. An unexpectedly long period of 
prosperity might produce a demand for employment which 
Canada could not fill from her own population. If this 
occurs, immigration will revive of its own accord. But this 




condition has not yet occurred, save possibly in certain 
skilled trades, and the lack of labour here is due to the 
Dominion’s own short-sightedness in not carrying on tech¬ 
nical training amongst the unemployed. No new attempt to 
foster immigration by official action is likely to be expected 
from Canada at the present time. There is clearly no gain, 
from the Canadian point of view, in permitting individuals 
to transfer from the dole in England to the dole in Canada. 
State-aided schemes for shifting population from the British 
Isles to Canada belong to long-range planning rather than 
to immediate policy; indeed, Canada is having to face the 
problem of internal shifts away from her drought areas in 
the west to more suitable localities. 

A majority of the human beings who constitute the popu¬ 
lation of the empire are not yet full citizens enjoying self- 
government. Viewing the empire as a whole, the right to 
select the governing authority and hold it responsible to the 
will of the people is a right possessed by a minority of British 
subjects. So long as this remains true, and accepting 
democracy as a Commonwealth ideal, the British nations 
have a large task to perform, a task that might perhaps be 
described as that of progressively eliminating the remnants 
of empire from the Commonwealth. The more politically 
advanced parts of the Commonwealth are thus under an 
obligation to co-operate for the purpose of raising the poli¬ 
tical, educational and economic level of the subject peoples. 
Perhaps the Commonwealth is nearing the time when it will 
accept the principle that the improvement of the condition 
of the native population is the first charge to be met out 
of the economic development of any area. Canada is not as 
directly concerned in this problem as some other parts of the 
Commonwealth, yet she has her minorities to whom she has 
not accorded full citizenship, and in this respect she faces an 
unfulfilled obligation. The British Commonwealth has not 
yet evolved what might be termed a ‘‘nationalities policy”, 
which aims to achieve a progressive improvement in the 
cultural and economic advancement of native races. 1 

1A clear realization of the need for such a policy will be found in The Alternative to War, 
by C. R. Buxton (1936). See also Hancock, W. K., Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs, 
vol. I (London, 1937), p. 506. 


In most of these various fields useful forms of co-operation 
can be developed or expanded, without the danger of offend¬ 
ing organized groups of opinion. Greater difficulties begin to 
arise when the most important field of all is entered—that of 
foreign policy and its allied subject, defence. Even here the 
area of uncertainty can be narrowed through the existence 
of well-understood ideas. Imperial federation is dead for¬ 
ever, at any rate with Canada as a federating unit. Canadian 
foreign policy will remain autonomous, and no delegation of 
executive authority to a central imperial cabinet is con¬ 
ceivable. The existing centralization of the right to declare 
peace and war is being questioned because it conflicts with 
this principle of self-determination. It follows that there is a 
right to differ as to foreign policy. Members of the Common¬ 
wealth have agreed they will not take any international 
action likely to affect the interests of other members without 
previously giving an opportunity to each member affected to 
make its interests known, and “that neither Great Britain 
nor the Dominions [can] be committed to the acceptance of 
active obligations except with the definite assent of their own 
Governments”. 1 Thus in place of formal machinery for reach¬ 
ing a united decision there exists merely an understanding, 
called by some writers a constitutional convention, that 
every government has the right to express its views in rela¬ 
tion to the foreign policy being pursued by any other Com¬ 
monwealth government, if in its opinion its interests are 
affected by the pursuit of that policy. 2 There is also a vague 

^Summary of Proceedings, ImperialConference, 1926, Cmd. 2768, cited Dawson, op. cit., p.342. 

2The Imperial Conference of 1930 approved a three-point summary of the main recom¬ 
mendations made at previous Imperial Conferences “with regard to the communication of 
information and the system of consultation in relation to treaty negotiations and the 
conduct of foreign affairs generally”. 

The first point was, “Any of His Majesty’s Governments conducting negotiations should 
inform the other Governments of His Majesty in case they should be interested and give 
them the opportunity of expressing their views, if they think that their interests may be 
affected.” The report later makes it clear that this point does not apply merely to treaty 
negotiations: "The application of this is not, however, confined to treaty negotiations. It 
cannot be doubted that the fullest possible interchange of information between His Majesty’s 
Governments in relation to all aspects of foreign affairs is of the greatest value to all the 
Governments concerned.” 

The second point was, “Any of His Majesty’s Governments on receiving such informa¬ 
tion should, if it desires to express any views, do so with reasonable promptitude. ... It 
is clear that a negotiating Government cannot fail to be embarrassed in the conduct of 
negotiations if the observations of other Governments who e consider that their interests may 
be affected are not received at the earliest possible stage in the negotiations. In the absence 
of comment the negotiating Government should, as indicated in the Report of the 1926 Con¬ 
ference, be entitled to assume that no objection will be raised to its proposed policy.” 

The third point was “None of His Majesty’s Governments can take any steps which 
might involve the other Governments of His Majesty in any active obligations without 
their definite assent.” ( Summary of Proceedings, Imperial Conference, 1930, Cmd. 3717, 
cited Dawson, op. cit., pp. 403-4). 


m : m 


recognition that the purpose of these arrangements is to help 
to co-ordinate the foreign policies of the various govern¬ 
ments. 1 Canada is not likely to promote any change in this 
situation, and the Canadian government in practice inter¬ 
prets the relevant resolutions of the Imperial Conferences 
to mean that its failure to express dissent from a United 
Kingdom policy of which it has knowledge must not be 
interpreted as meaning assent to that policy or a willingness 
to support it. 2 

What applies to foreign policy applies also to defence. Co¬ 
operation and consultation exist, but, in so far as Canada is 

1“ During the discussions [at the Imperial Conference of 1937] emphasis was laid on the 
importance of developing the practice of communication and consultation [on questions of 
foreign affairs] between the respective Governments as a help to the co-ordination of 
policies. . . . Being convinced that the influence of each of them in the cause of peace was 
likely to be greatly enhanced by their common agreement to use that influence in the same 
direction, they declared their intention of continuing to consult and co-operate with one 
another in this vital interest and all other matters of common concern.” ( Summary of 
Proceedings , Imperial Conference , 1937, Cmd. 5482, pp. 13-4). 

2The views of the Canadian government on this point were set forth on a number of 
occasions during the parliamentary session of 1938. 

(a) On March 17, Mr. T. L. Church asked the following question: 

“Has any action been taken by the government to assure His Majesty’s government of 
Great Britain of Canada’s moral support, interest, co-operation and aid in the present foreign 
situation, and will any papers relating thereto be tabled?” 

Mr. King replied as follows: 

“Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question as drafted is in the negative. As already 
indicated in answer to a question by the member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) on 
March 1, the government has been receiving from the United Kingdom government certaih 
communications relating to the international situation. Such communications are continu¬ 
ing. As indicated in that answer and in answer to a question by the member for Winnipeg 
North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth), on February 25, these communications are in the nature 
of information rather than consultation upon policies. As such, they are helpful to the 
Canadian government in assisting it to understand the actual facts of the current situation.” 

(b) In reply to a question asked by Mr. M. J. Coldwell on March 1, subsequent to the 
resignation of Mr. Anthony Eden and the ensuing debates in the British parliament, Mr. 
King said: 

“The Canadian government has been furnished with full summaries of recent statements 
made in the British House of Commons by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and 
the former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In addition, it has received a brief 
report of a conversation with a representative of a foreign government. These communica¬ 
tions, as is usually the case, are in the nature of information rather than consultation. The 
Canadian government has not offered any opinion on the statements in question.” 

(c) The following excerpt from the debate on the defence estimates on April 1 is also 

instructive: . .... 

“Mr. COLDWELL: . . • The Prime Minister of Great Britain has stated in the house 
that the dominions have been consulted and that to some extent recent pronouncements in 
regard to Czechoslovakia are in part due, it is said, to the attitude of the self-governing 

“Mr. MACKENZIE KING: Consulted, did my hon. friend say? 

“Mr. COLDWELL: Yes, consulted. 

“Mr. MACKENZIE KING: I do not believe the Prime Minister of Great Britain has 
used that word. I may be wrong, but my recollection is that the Prime Minister said that 
we had been kept informed of what had taken place. But that we had been consulted, or 
that any advice had been given by the government, was not, I think, suggested. 

“Mr. COLDWELL: I think in certain press dispatches the word ‘consulted’ was used. 
I know that when I was thinking of what I was going to say I took that word ‘consulted’ 
from one of the dispatches. But if the right hon. gentleman says that that is not the word 
that should have been used, I take it that the government has been kept informed, and if 
there has been any actual or implied advice with respect to that information I think we 
should be given to understand what that advice may have been, if any has been given. 

“Mr. MACKENZIE KING: I can assure my hon. friend right away that no advice 
has been asked and none has been given by the present government.” 

(Canada, House of Commons Debates, unrevised, March 1, 1938, p. 994; March 17, 
1938, pp. 1530-1; and April 1, 1938, p. 2104). 



concerned, stop short of an express understanding equivalent 
to a military alliance. The nature of the present defence 
policy of Canada has already been analysed, and it has been 
pointed out that, far from excluding the possibility of war in 
conjunction with Great Britain, Canadian defence plans 
take such an emergency into account while the government 
clings to the principle of parliamentary decision on each 
situation as it arises. In this matter also the policy of 
Canada is unlikely to change in the near future, given the 
divisions of opinion within the country. At the same time, 
on the economic side Canada is co-operating to a consider¬ 
able extent through the acceptance by various industries of 
large orders for the manufacture of war equipment. This co¬ 
operation, as has been shown, is operating as one of the 
powerful underlying forces linking Canadian foreign policy 
ever closer to that of Great Britain, despite the surface 
retention of the “no commitment” policy. 

If the problem of intra-Commonwealth co-operation on 
foreign policy could be based on an active League of Nations, 
then at once the situation would be clarified. Postulating a 
functioning collective system, Commonwealth foreign policy 
is replaced by League policy on the vital issues of war, and 
neutrality disappears. The first British Commonwealth Re¬ 
lations Conference was correct in its statement that in such a 
world the purely Commonwealth problem becomes academic. 
Theoretically, the ideal solution—if not the only solution—is 
a world system for the maintenance of law and justice in 
which the Commonwealth members have agreed to the 
nature of their commitments. The creation of such a system, 
in the opinion of many Canadians, thus remains as the ulti¬ 
mate and the most unifying principle of co-operation for 
Commonwealth members. Every form of co-operation in¬ 
consistent with that ultimate aim is dangerous and injurious 
to the welfare of the world and hence the Commonwealth. 
For though the great powers may have destroyed the effec¬ 
tiveness of the League they have not succeeded in destroying 
the effectiveness of the education in international behaviour 
carried on by the League. Unless every lesson learned since 
1914 has proved false, power politics, balance of power 





diplomacy, armed alliances unrelated to generous and sincere 
offers of settlement to opposing forces, are not steps towards 
peace, but are simply preparations for another war which in 
turn will create more problems than it solves. 

The present world, however, has no such League. No 
great power is advocating an attempt to re-establish it. Its 
achievement has ceased to be (if it ever was) a leading prin¬ 
ciple of British foreign policy; if Britain and France were to 
win another war, can it be said that a new League with any 
greater chances of success than the last would be created? 
Today the dominating motive actuating Commonwealth 
members in international affairs is that of postponing im¬ 
mediate war and preparing to be on the winning side when 
hostilities begin. In such a world, co-operation between the 
dominions and the United Kingdom must necessarily be 
chiefly concerned with defence matters. Here the attitude of 
the dominions will vary in accordance with their national 
sense of need and commitment. Canada’s share in defence 
co-operation will not be likely to change in the next few 
years. In the ultimate event of a European war involving 
Great Britain some Canadian contribution, even if only 
economic, is certain; its extent, particularly in a military 
sense, will depend on unpredictable factors both foreign and 
domestic. One thing can be said with safety: the degree of 
Canada’s willing participation will be greatly increased if 
British policy leans to the principles of collective security. 

The fields in which Commonwealth members may pursue 
joint policies are important. They are being developed to 
some extent now: their further expansion along proper lines 
is desirable. But no group of nations scattered about the 
world like the British nations, comprising within their 
borders a multitude of races, religions and economic areas, 
has any difficulties unlike those which are shared by man¬ 
kind in general. The Commonwealth must seek the solutions 
to its problems, not apart from other peoples, but in con¬ 
junction with them. 

For Canada at the present moment grave internal prob¬ 
lems, economic, racial and constitutional, dominate all other 
issues. Commonwealth co-operation can be of some, but 


probably not of great, assistance to her in solving these 
domestic difficulties. Canadians must first make up their 
own minds as to what kind of society they want and how 
they propose to get it; then only will they see clearly how 
to harmonize their foreign and domestic policies. Canada 
is searching for a new basis on which to re-establish her 
national unity, and until she finds it she has no accepted 
internal criterion with which to measure her external obliga¬ 
tions. When she knows her own mind on her national 
objectives she will know better what contribution she can 
make toward international and intra-Commonwealth co¬ 



For more extended bibliographies on Canadian affairs the reader is 
referred to: Canada looks abroad , by R. A. MacKay and E. B. Rogers 
(published under the auspices of the Canadian Institute of Inter¬ 
national Affairs by the Oxford University Press, Toronto, London and 
New York, 1938); the Selected bibliography prepared by Miss Mar¬ 
garet Cleeve, of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, for the 
British Commonwealth Relations Conference, 1938; the bibliography 
in Select documents in Canadian economic history , 1497-1783 , edited by 
H. A. Innis (Toronto, 1929); and the bibliographies published in the 
Canadian journal of economics and political science and the Canadian 
historical review . 

I. Sources 

A mass of information is to be found in the briefs submitted by 
provincial governments and by various organizations to the Royal 
Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations (the Rowell Commis¬ 
sion) in 1937 and 1938. The report of the Commission is expected in 
1939. Eight volumes of a series of books on Canadian-American rela¬ 
tions, sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 
have already been published, and more are forthcoming; several of 
them have been referred to in foot-notes. The nine volumes in the 
series entitled Canadian frontiers of settlement are invaluable (particu¬ 
larly vol. I, Mackintosh, W. A., Prairie settlement , the geographical 
setting ; vol. VII, Dawson, C. A., Group settlement: ethnic communities 
in western Canada ; vol. IX, Lower, A. R. M. and Innis, H. A., Settle¬ 
ment and the forest frontier in eastern Canada , by A. R. M. Lower, 
Settlement and the mining frontier , by H. A. Innis. Among recent 
government reports the following will be found useful: Report of the 
Royal Commission to inquire into railways and transportation in Canada 
(Ottawa, 1932); Report of the Royal Commission on banking and cur¬ 
rency (Ottawa, 1933); Report of the Royal Commission on price spreads 
and mass buying (Ottawa, 1935); Final report of the National Employ¬ 
ment Commission (Ottawa, 1938). 

Useful documents are to be found in R. MacGregor Dawson’s two 
volumes, Constitutional issues in Canada , 1900-1931 (London, 1933) 
and The development of dominion status , 1900-1936 (London, 1937). 
Canada looks abroad , by MacKay and Rogers, contains about 65 pages 
of speeches and other documentary material and, on page 389, a list 
of other sources. The Canada year book , published annually by the 
Dominion Bureau of Statistics, is invaluable, as is also The encyclopedia 
of Canada (6 vols.), edited by W. S. Wallace (Toronto, 1935-37). 

II. Books on Canadian Affairs 

Anderson, Violet, (ed.), World currents and Canada 1 s course , Lectures 
given at the Canadian Institute on Economics and Politics, 1937 
(Toronto, 1937). 




Angus, H. F. (ed.), Canada and the doctrine of peaceful change (pub¬ 
lished by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (Toronto, 

1937) (mimeographed). 

Armstrong, Elizabeth H., The crisis of Quebec, 1914.-1918 (New 
York, 1937). 

Barbeau, Victor, La mesure de notre taille (Montreal, 1936). 

Brady, A., Canada (Modern World Series) (London, 1932). 

Canada , the empire and the league, Lectures given at the Canadian In¬ 
stitute on Economics and Politics, 1936 (Toronto, 1936). 
Canadian constitution, The, Series of broadcasts by C.B.C. (Toronto, 

1938) . 

Canadian papers, 1938 (published by the Canadian Institute of Inter¬ 
national Affairs, Toronto, 1933). 

(Mackintosh, W. A., “Canadian tariff policy”; MacDonald, 
James M., “Statistical outlines of Canada’s transpacific trade”; 
and other papers.) 

Canadian papers, 1936 (published by the Canadian Institute of Inter¬ 
national Affairs, Toronto, 1936) (mimeographed). 

(Gibson, J. D., and Plumptre, A. F. W., “The economic effects on 
Canada of the recent monetary policy of the U.S.A.”; Hurd, W. B., 
and MacLean, M.C., “Projection of Canada’s population on the 
basis of current birth and death rates”; Taylor, K. W., “The effect 
of the Ottawa agreements on Canadian trade”; and other papers.) 
Conference on Canadian-American affairs, Canton, New York, 1935, 
Proceedings (Boston, 1936). 

Conference on Canadian-American affairs, Kingston, Ontario, 1937, 
Proceedings (Boston, 1938). 

Dafoe, J. W., Canada: an American nation (New York, 1935). 
Democracy needs socialism (published under the auspices of the Re¬ 
search Committee of the League for Social Reconstruction, 
Toronto, 1938). 

Glazebrook, G. deT., and Benson, W., Canada's defence policy, 
Report of round tables of annual conference, 1937, Canadian In¬ 
stitute of International Affairs (Toronto, 1937) (pamphlet). 
Innis, H. A., and Plumptre, A. F. W. (eds.), The Canadian economy 
and its problems (published by the Canadian Institute of Inter¬ 
national Affairs, Toronto, 1934). 

Innis, Mary Quayle, An economic history of Canada (Toronto, 1935). 
Jackman, W. T., Economic principles of transportation (Toronto, 1935). 
Kelsey Club of Winnipeg, Canadian defence: what we have to defend, 
A series of broadcast discussions (Ottawa, 1937). 

Kennedy, W. P. M., The constitution of Canada, 1534-1937, 2nd. ed. 
(Toronto, 1938). 

MacGibbon, D. A., The Canadian grain trade (Toronto, 1932). 
MacKay, R. A., and Rogers, E. B., Canada looks abroad (published 
under the auspices of the Canadian Institute of International 
Affairs, Toronto, 1938). 



Mackintosh, W. A., Economic problems of the prairie provinces 
(Toronto, 1935). 

Marshall, H., Southard, F. A., and Taylor, K. W., Canadian- 
American industry (Toronto, 1936). 

S^billeau, Pierre, Le Canada et la doctrine de Monroe (Paris, 1937). 

Siegfried, Andr£, Canada (London, 1937). 

Social planning for Canada (published under the auspices of the Re¬ 
search Committee of the League for Social Reconstruction, 
Toronto, 1935). 

Soward, F. H., Canada and the Americas , Report of round table of 
annual conference, 1937, Canadian Institute of International 
Affairs (Toronto, 1937) (pamphlet). 

Strange, William, Canada , the Pacific and war (published under the 
auspices of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, 
Toronto, 1937). 

Wittke, Carl, A history of Canada , rev. ed. (New York, 1933). 

Wrong, George M., The Canadians: the story of a people (Toronto, 

III. Periodicals 

Canadian banker (Toronto, quar¬ 

Canadian bar review (Ottawa, 

Canadian defence quarterly (Ot¬ 

Canadian forum (Toronto, 

Canadian historical review (To¬ 
ronto, quarterly). 

Canadian Institute of Interna¬ 
tional Affairs: reports of an¬ 
nual conferences (Toronto). 

Canadian journal of economics and 
political science (Toronto, 

Dalhousie review (Halifax, quar¬ 

Financial post (Toronto, weekly). 

Foreign affairs (New York, quar¬ 

International affairs (London, 
every two months). 

League of Nations Society in 
Canada: reports of annual 
conferences (Ottawa). 

Maclean's magazine (Toronto, bi¬ 

Pacific affairs (New York, quar¬ 

Queen's quarterly (Kingston). 

Revue trimestrielle canadienne 
(Montreal, quarterly). 

Round table (London, quarterly). 

Saturday night (Toronto, weekly). 

University of Toronto quarterly 

The following are some of the more important articles that have 
appeared recently in the foregoing and other periodicals: 

Bovey, Wilfrid, “French Canada and the problem of Quebec”, Nineteenth 
century , CXXIII, 731 (January, 1938). 

Brebner, J. B., “Canada, the Anglo-Japanese alliance and the Washington 
conference”, Political science quarterly , L, 1 (March, 1935). 

Brossard, Roger, “The working of confederation: a French-Canadian view”, 
Canadian journal of economics and political science , III, 3 (August, 1937). 


Bruchesi, J., “Defence—and French Canada”, Maclean’s magazine , June 15, 


-“Canadian unity and the French Canadians”, Revue trimestrielle 

canadienne XXIV, 94 (June, 1938). 

Cahan, C. H., “Canada and/or commonwealth loyalty”, United empire , 
XXIX, 21 (January, 1938). 

■- Speech on appeals to the judicial committee of the privy coun¬ 

cil, Canada, House of commons debates (unrevised), April 8, 1938, pp. 
2336 ff. 

“Canada and imperial defence”, Canadian defence quarterly , XII, 2 (January, 

Canadian bar review , June, 1937. Special number on constitutional questions. 
“Canuck”, “The problems of Canadian defence”, Canadian defence quarterly. 
April, 1938. 

Dafoe, J. W., “Canada’s interest in the world crisis”, Dalhousie review , XV, 4 
(January, 1936). 

Economist, The , special supplement, “The dominion of Canada”, January 18, 

Feis, H., “A year of the Canadian trade agreement”, Foreign affairs , XV, 4 
(July, 1937). 

Ferguson, G. Howard, “Canada must arm”, Maclean’s magazine , April 15, 

Green, J. F., “Canada in world affairs”, Foreign policy reports , June 15, 1938. 
Griesbach, W. A., “A united empire front”, Queen’s quarterly , XLIV, 1 
(Spring, 1937). 

Keenleyside, H. L., “Department of external affairs”. Queen’s quarterly . 

XLIV, 4 (Winter, 1937-38). H * 

Lower, A. R. M., “America and the Pacific”, Dalhousie review , XVIII. 1 
(April, 1938). 

‘Canada can defend herself”, Canadian forum , Tanuary, 


Martin, David, “Canada: our military ward”, Current history (June, 1938). 

Marvin, D. M., “The bank of Canada”, Canadian banker (October, 1937). 

“Nationalism in French Canada”, Round table , No. 105 (December, 1936). 

Noble, S. R., “The monetary experience of Canada during the depression”, 
Canadian banker (April, 1938). 

Reid, Escott,. “Canada and the threat of war: a discussion of Mr. Mac¬ 
kenzie King’s foreign policy”, University of Toronto quarterly VI, 2 
(January, 1937). 

- : - “Mr. Mackenzie King’s foreign policy, 1935-6”, Canadian 

journal of economics and political science , III, 1 (February, 1937). 

“S”, “Embryo fascism in Quebec”, Foreign affairs , XVI, 3 (April, 1938). 

Scott, F. R., “The permanent bases of Canadian foreign policy”, Foreign 
affairs , X, 4 (July, 1932). 

- “Canada’s future in the British commonwealth”. Foreign af¬ 

fairs , XV, 3 (April, 1937). 

Soward, F. H., Canada and the league of nations”, International conciliation , 
No. 283 (October, 1932). 

“T”, “Canada and the Far East”, Foreign affairs , XIII, 3 (April, 1935). 

Tarr, E. J., 4 Canada in world affairs”, International affairs , XVI 5 (Sep- 
tember-October, 1937). ’ v 

- “Defence and national unity”, Maclean’s magazine , July 1, 1937. 

Trotter, R. G., The Canadian back fence in Anglo-American relations”. 
Queen’s quarterly , XL, 2 (August, 1933). 

-——- ‘‘Which way Canada?”, Queen’s quarterly , XLV, 3 (Autumn, 


Underhill, F. H., “Keep Canada out of war”, Maclean’s magazine , May 15, 


Aberhart, Hon. William, 18, 60,65, 
66, 71. 

Abyssinia, see War. 

Acadia, see Nova Scotia. 

Act of Union (1840), 70. 

Africa, 42, 115. 

Alaska, 1, 9, 93, 115. 

Alberta, 4, 7, 23, 24, 35, 46, 46n., 47, 
49, 51, 61, 65, 66m., 68, 69, 71, 83, 

All-Canadian Congress of Labour, 58. 
American Federation of Labor, 58. 
Anderson, Mrs. Violet, 15*., 32*., 
121*., 139«. 

Angus, Professor H. F., 18*., 45*., 
46*., 71*. 

Argentine, 111. 

Asia, 42, 88, 89, 115, 137, 138. 

air-route to North America, 36. 
Association of American Railroads, 34. 
Atlantic Ocean and seaboard, 35, 88, 
90,91,92,93,94,94*., 97, 100,117. 
Australia, 20,44, 52*., 59, 79,112,121. 
Austria, 108. 

Balfour, Earl of, 122. 

Barbeau, Monsieur Victor, 32*. 
Belgium, 41. 

Bennett, Rt. Hon. R. B., 10*., 49, 51, 
56, 62, 63, 67, 80, 104, 107, 140,141. 
Bidwell, Professor Percy W., 43. 
Board of Railway Commissioners, see 
Canada, railways. 

Borden, Sir Robert, 62. 

Bourassa, Monsieur Henri, 72. 
Bovey, Mr. Wilfrid, 71*. 

Bowman, Dr. Isaiah, 45*., 46*. 
Brady, Professor A., 57*. 

Brazil, Canadian investments in and 
relations with, 33, 111. 

British Columbia, 3*., 4, 5, 9, 13*., 
15, 24*., 30, 40, 51, 65, 67, 69, 81, 
91, 93,99, 103, 107*., 113. 

British Commonwealth, 1, 18, 35, 43, 
44, 47, 61, 70, 85, 85*., 94, 95, 96, 
98-103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 108*., 
109, 110, 113-9, 120, 121, 122, 123, 
125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 132, 133, 
137, 138, 139*., 142-52: see also 
Imperial Conferences. 

Ottawa Agreements (1932), 40, 43, 
62, 63, 118, 118*., 119*., 139, 

Relations Conference (1933), 121. 

British Empire, see British Common¬ 
wealth and Canada. 

“British front”, 132, 133. 

British Israelite movement, 18. 
British North America Act, see Con¬ 

Brossard, Monsieur R., 70*. 

Bruchesi, Professor Jean, 107*. 
Brussels, 87*. 

Buck, Mr. Tim, 67. 

Buell, Dr. R. L., 118*. 

Buenos Aires, 105. 

Burchell, Mr. C. J., 122*. 

Buxton, Mr. C. R., 146*. 

Cahan, Hon. C. H., 98*. 

Calgary Conference, C.C.F., 66, 66*. 
Cameron, Miss Jean C., and Hurd, 
Professor W. B., 21*., 22*. 

aerial navigation, 2, 7, 35-6, 48, 
78*., 83. 

agriculture and farmers, 3, 5, 7, 9, 
20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 45, 46, 
50, 52, 53-4, 56, 56*., 60, 64, 65 
66, 81, 97, 107, 113, 118, 141. 
farmer organizations, 60, 66, 
66*., 107, 126. 

Alaska, and, 1, 9, 93. 
class conflict, 32, 107. 
climate, effects of, on transporta¬ 
tion and unemployment, 7, 33. 
Commissions and Boards: 
Arbitration and Conciliation, in¬ 
dustrial, 50. 

Fair Wage, New Brunswick, 51. 
Hydro-Electric, Ontario, 49. 
Marketing, 49, 63, 140. 

National Employment, 49. 
Railways, 34, 48. 

Royal, 9, 35, 46, 68: see also 
Dominion-Provincial relations. 
Royal, on Price Spreads, 21*., 
51*., 55, 56. 

Tariff, 44, 49. 

Trade and Industry, 49, 63. 
Transportation (Chevrier), 55. 
Wheat, 49, 63. 

defence, 87-97, 100, 100*., 115-6, 
123, 128, 139*., 143, 147, 148, 
149, 150. 

diplomatic relations, 87-8, 113-4, 



Canada— continued 

Dominion-Provincial relations, 15, 
30,35,49, 50,51,52, 65, 65ft., 68, 
70, 75-82, 83, 84, 119. 

Royal Commission on (1937-38), 
46, 52n., 54, 54ft., 68, 75ft., 79, 

drought and drought relief, 20, 
20ft., 52, 56, 146. 

emigration to U.S.A., 5, 15ft., 18- 
20, 103. 

Empire, and the, 18, 20, 35, 39-42, 
43, 44, 61, 62, 70, 70ft., 85, 85ft., 
94, 95, 95ft., 96, 97, 98-103, 104, 
105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 113-9, 
120, 121, 122, 123, 125, 126, 128, 
131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 137, 138, 
139ft., 143, 144, 147ft., 149, 151. 
English Canadians, 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 26, 
62, 64, 69, 70, 71, 72, 84, 85, 99, 
100, 102, 108, 109, 119, 126, 131, 
135, 136, 138. 

Europe, and, 2, 10, 35, 41, 85, 86, 
88, 89, 93, 94, 100, 107, 108, 109, 
111, 115, 116, 120, 133, 135-6, 

137, 138, 140, 141, 144, 150. 

Far East, relations with, 2. 
federal system, 9, 65, 72, 75-82, 84, 

102, 119, 150. 

finance and banking, 3, 9, 15, 32, 
37-9, 49, 55, 62, 65, 65ft., 66, 71, 
72, 73, 76, 80, 81, 91, 103ft., 
119ft., 136, 140. 
fisheries, 3, 4, 28, 44. 
foreign investments in, 36-8, 47. 
foreign investments of, 33, 37, 140. 
foreign policy, 17, 85, 88, 90, 94, 

• 98-112, 118, 123, 125, 126, 127, 

130, 131, 132, 134, 135, 136, 137, 

138, 139, 140-1, 143, 147, 148, 
148ft., 149, 151. 

foreign trade, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 
36, 38-42, 43-4, 47, 76, 78, 87, 
92-3, 97, 98, 99, 100, 104, 109, 
111, 112, 113, 114, 117, 118, 125, 
125ft., 131, 133, 138, 139, 140-1, 
145: see also Imperial Prefer¬ 

French Canadians, 2, 3, 10n., 13 n., 
14, IS, 17, 21, 23, 24, 26, S2, 57, 
62, 63, 64, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 
84, 85, 85 n., 99-100, 103, 107, 
110, 119, 126, 130, 135, 136, 138. 
nationalist sentiment and move¬ 

ment, 15, 30, 32, 62, 68, 69-74, 
81, 83, 84, 101, 110. 

Canada— continued 
geography, 1-5. 

effects of, on, 7-12, 25, 30, 33, 
59, 80, 81, 84, 89, 90, 99, 106, 
116, 117, 118, 130, 131, 138. 
Great Britain, and, 2, 10, 13, 18, 
20, 36-42, 43-4, 76-8, 87-8, 89, 91, 
92, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 
103, 104, 105, 106, 109, 111, 114, 
115, 116, 117, 120, 123, 124, 
125ft., 127, 130, 131, 132, 133, 
134, 135, 135ft., 136, 136ft., 137, 

138, 139, 146, 148ft., 149. 
immigration and immigrants, 10, 

13, 14, 15, 18-25, 59, 99, 146. 
assimilation, 23-5. 
Order-in-Council re, (1931), 20. 
industry and industries, 3, 4, 15, 

27, 28, 30, 31, 36, 37, 47, 52, 55, 
73, 80, 97, 117, 136, 139, 141, 
145, 149. 

Japanese minority, 13ft., 16, 20. 
labour and wages, 50, 51, 52-3, 55, 
56, 57, 58, 59, 64, 66, 71-2, 73, 
76, 80, 84, 107, 141, 146. 
labour organizations, 23, 56, 57-60, 
66, 66ft., 67, 72, 103, 105, 107, 
126: see also Catholic Syndi¬ 
cates, C.I.O., etc. 

League of Nations, and the, 83, 94, 
97, 98, 105-9, 110, 111, 116, 131, 
132, 133, 137, 138, 139ft. 
manufacturing and manufactures, 
3,28, 30,31,37, 40, 44, 91,119ft., 

139, 140, 141. 

migration, internal, 19, 21-3, 146. 
military, 91, 94, 94ft., 95, 95ft., 98-9, 
100, 101, 106, 117, 125, 136, 150. 
mineral resources, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 27, 

28, 118, 140. 

mining, 27, 28, 34, 36, 41, 44, 46, 
47, 59, 72, 113. 

monopoly, and trend toward, in, 
31-3, 55, 57, 66, 71, 80, 81. 
national income, 30, 54, 78. 

distribution of, 52-7. 
national unity and nationhood, 7, 
10, 24, 25, 61, 62, 63, 77, 79, 80, 
81, 83-6, 98, 100, 101, 109, 113, 
115, 117, 118, 119, 120, 123, 125, 
128, 132, 137, 138, 141, 146, 147, 
150, 151: see also separatist 
movement, and French Cana¬ 
dians, nationalist sentiment, 
natural resources, 3, 4, 5, 18, 27, 30, 
36, 44-7, 72, 73, 118, 133, 141. 

legislation, 125-6, 140. 



Canada— continued 

policy of, 100, 101, 121, 123, 126. 
preservation of, 91, 93, 101, 102, 

problem of, 120-9, 149. 
right to, 88, 101, 122, 123, 124, 
126, 127, 127w., 128, 136. 
Oriental minorities, 4, 9, 13 n., 14, 
16, 20, 24. 
polar area, and, 1. 
political life and thought, 9, 15, 25, 
30, 32, 64, 68, 71, 84, 99, 102, 
105, 110, 113, 114-5, 117-8, 119, 
119n., 132-5, 141. 

political parties, 61-8, 69, 141: see 
also Conservative Party, Liberal 
Party, C.C.F., Social Credit, etc. 
attitude to Reciprocity, 10. 
population, 3, 3 n., 4, 9-10, 13-26, 

45, Sin., 57, 69, 114, 130, 146. 
distribution of, 5-7, 13, 14 ff., 

46, Sin., 69. 

protectionism: see Canada, tariff. 
provincial-Dominion relations, see 
Dominion-Provincial relations, 
public finance, 33. 
pulp and paper, 5, 28, 39. 
racial origins and problems, 14^., 
69, 80, 81, 85, 86, 104, 110, 118, 
130, 131, 134, 135, 143, 146, 150. 
railways, 9, 32, 33-5, 47, 80, 83: 
see also Canada, Commissions 
and Boards. 

religious denominations, 16-8, 24. 
Roman Catholics, 3, 16, 17, 18, 24, 
52, 57, 64, 67, 71, 73, 84, 110, 
111, 113, 135 n., 138. 
royal commissions: see Canada, 
Commissions and Boards. 

Scots, in, 8-9, 14, 17. 
secession, 101, 128. 

Senate, 9, 61, 61 n., 100 n. 
separatist movement, 15, 84. 
Socialist movement, see Co-opera¬ 
tive Commonwealth Federation, 
and Socialism and radicalism, 
standards of living, 52-7, 141, 145. 
staple products, 4, 9, 27, 28, 30, 
38-9, 139. 

tariff: see also Canada, Commis¬ 
sions and Boards. 

British preferential: see Im¬ 
perial Preferences, 
effects of Confederation on, 7. 
general tariff, 43. 
policy, 33, 43-4, 48, 61, 62, 139. 

Canada— continued 

protectionist, 9, 33,48,55,62,139. 
structure, 43. 
timber, 2, 3, 4, 5. 
tourist trade, 38, 41, 42, 104. 
trade agreements, 43-4, 48, 140: 
see also Reciprocity Treaty, West 

transportation, 2-3, 7, 23, 33-6, 47, 
49, 56-7, 83, 90, 113. 
costs of, 9, 10, 33, 34. 
unemployment, and unemployment 
insurance and relief, 9, 19, 20, 
20n., 47, 49, 50, 52, Sin., 56, S6n., 
57, 63, 71, 76, 79, 97, 146. 
United States, and the, 1, 3, 5, 9, 
10, 20, 24n., 34, 36-42, 43, 44, 58, 
63, 71, 84-5, 87, 88, 91, 92, 93, 
98, 99, 102, 103-5, 114, 115, 116, 
117, 118, 131, 132, 133, 137, 138, 

war: see War. 

water power, 3, 5, 27, 28, 44, 49, 50, 
72, 73. 

waterways, 2, 3, 34, 35, 36: see also 
St. Lawrence and Great Lakes. 

Canadian Federation of Labour, 58. 

Canadian Institute of International 
Affairs, 18n., ISn., 38n., 93, 95«., 
105, 112n., 131, 136-7. 

Canadian National Railways, 34, 47, 
48. ^ 

Canadian Northern Railway, 34. 

Canadian Pacific Railway, 14, 34, 35, 
48. ^ 

Canadian Pacific Steamships, 36. 

Canadian Shield, 2, 4, 5, 27, 34, 36, 46. 

“Canadien”, 85w. 

“Canuck”, 91 n., 100 n. 

Cape Breton, island of, 96. 

Catholic Syndicates, 56, 57-8. 

C.C.F.: see Co-operative Common¬ 
wealth Federation. 

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Neville, 134. 

Chanaq incident (1922), 120. 

Chevrier Commission, 55. 

Chicago, 35. 

China, 87, 89, 92, 108, 116. 

Church, Mr. T. L, 148n. 

Churchill, port of, 34. 

C.I.O.: see Committee for Industrial 

Coats, Mr. R. H., 102n. 

Coldwell, Mr. M. J., 148n. 

Collective security and sanctions, 
105-9, 127, 132, 133-4, 137, 138, 
149, 150. 



Committee for Industrial Organiza¬ 
tion, 58, 59w., 84, 103n., 105. 

Communism, 17, 1 7n., 32, 58, 72, 73, 

Communist Party, 67, 135n. 

Confederation and the B.N.A. Act, 7, 
13, 35, 61, 65, 70, 70»., 71, 72, 75- 
82, 84, 115, 121: see also Canada, 
federal system and Dominion-Pro¬ 
vincial relations. 

Conscription Act (1917), 85. 

Conservative Party, 62-4, 67, 98n. 

Constitutional Act (1791), 70. 

Co-operative Commonwealth Federa¬ 
tion, 32, 66-7, 121, 126n., 131. 

Co-operative Union of Canada, 59. 

Co-operatives, 59-60. 

Corbett, Professor P. E., 122n. 

Corey, Professor A. B., 102n. 

Corporatism, 17, 110. 

Czechoslovakia, 148 n. 

Dafoe, Mr. J. W., lOn, 132n., 139n. 

Daggett, Mr. A. P., 80n. 

Dawson, Professor R. MacG., 63 n. 9 
64 n., 136n., 147«. 

del Val, Mgr. Merry, 110. 

Democracy, 95, 96, 97n., 99, 128, 138, 
139, 143, 144. 

Denmark, S2n. 

Doukhobors, 13n., 24. 

Duplessis, Hon. Maurice, 73 n. 

Easterbrook, Mr. W. T., 50 n. 

Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony, 148n. 

Eire, 20, 44, Sin., 122, 129. 

Electric power: see Canada, water 

Emigration: see Canada. 

England, 36, 69, 104, 105: see also 
Great Britain. 

Eskimos, 13. 

Esquimalt, B.C., 91, 95, 115, 117, 124, 

Europe, 2, 10, 35, 41, 57, 71, 85, 86, 
88,89,92, 93, 94, 100, 107, 108, 109, 
111, 115, 116, 120, 133, 136, 137, 
138, 140, 141, 144, 150: see also 
Canada, Europe and. 

Ewart, Mr. J. S., 122n. 

Far East: 

Canada’s relations with, 2, 133, 
140, 141. 

Fascism, 17, 73-4, 96, 109. 

Feis, Mr. H., 43 n. 

Ferguson, Mr. G. V., 66n. 

Foreign policy: see Canada. 

France, 44, 69, 87, 89, 110, 115, 116, 

Franco, General, attitude of Cana¬ 
dians towards, 17. 

French Canadians: see Canada. 

Geneva, 105, 106, 108, 114n., 132, 
134, 137, 138. 

Germany, 44, 87, 88, 89, 92, 96, 115, 
116, 134. 

Gibson, Mr. J. D., 38«., 40n. 
Glazebrook, Professor G. deT., 95w. 
Gouin, Monsieur L. M., 70n. 

Grand Trunk Pacific, 34. 

Grand Trunk Railway, 34. 

Great Britain, 52«., 59, 85, 101, 108, 
109, 111, 122, 123, 124, 125n., 128, 
134, 139, 142, 143, 145, 147, 148, 

Canada, and, 2, 10, 13, 16, 36-42, 
43-4, 76-8, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 95, 
96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 
104, 105, 106, 114, 115, 116, 117, 
120, 122, 123, 125n., 127, 131, 
132, 133, 137, 139, 146, 149. 
foreign policy, 88. 

Great Lakes, 2, 3, 34, 35. 

Hague, The, 8 7n. 

Haldane, Lord, 77. 

Halifax, port and harbour of, 2, 80, 
90, 91, 115, 117, 124, 127: see also 
Nova Scotia. 

Hancock, Professor W. K., 122 n., 
14 6n. 

Hepburn, Hon. Mitchell F., 59 n. } 71, 

Hitler, Herr Adolf, 92, 134. 
Hoare-Laval Proposals, 134. 

Hodson, Mr. H. V., 128 n. 

Holland, 87n. 

Hudon, Monsieur T., 70n. 

Hudson Bay, 2, 13«., 34. 

Hurd, Professor W. B., 14 n., lln., 
22«., 2 Sn. ' 

Hydro-electric: see Canada, water 

Immigration: see Canada. 

Imperial Airways, 36. 

Imperial Conferences, 98, 127, 147w., 

(1926), 120, 147n. 

(1930), U7n. 

(1937), 98, 123, U8n. 

Imperial Preferences, 43, 62, 99, 118. 

Imperial relations: 

communications, 2, 36. 

Indians, Red, 13, 13m. 

Innis, Professor H. A., 30 m., 3In., 
33m., 34m., 35 m., 57m. 

International Federation of Trades 
Unions, 57m. 

International Labour Conference: see 
League of Nations, I.L.O. 

International Labour Organization: 
see League of Nations, I.L.O. 

Ireland, 71. 
northern, 20. 

Irish Free State: see Eire. 

Isolation policy, 17, 109, 116, 127, 
132, 133, 134, 135, 135n., 136, 140, 

Italy, 87, 89, 106, 110, 115. 

attitude of Canadians towards, 17. 

Japan, 41, 44, 87, 88, 89, 92, 93, 97, 
106, 111, 115, 116, 134, 140: see 
also Canada, Japanese minority. 
Jennings, Dr. W. I., 80m. 

Keith, Professor A. B., 122m. 
Kennedy, Professor W. P. M., 122m. 
Khartoum incident, 120. 

King, Rt. Hon. W. L. Mackenzie, 49, 
51, 61, 90, 92, 92 m., 95, 106, 106m., 
120, 123-4, 131, 136-8, 141, 148m. 

Labrador, 1, 5. 

Lapointe, Rt. Hon. Ernest, 98m., 124, 

Latham, Mr. A. B., 58m. 

Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 120, 136m. 
Lavergne, Monsieur A., 72. 

League of Nations, 52, 121, 134, 149, 

attitude of Canadians towards, 17, 

Canada, and, 83, 85m., 94, 98, 105-9, 
110, 111, 116, 131, 132, 133, 137, 
138, 139m. 

I.L.O., 107. 

League of Nations Society in Canada, 

80m., 131. 

League for Social Reconstruction, 

32m., 54m., 75m., 141m. 

Le Devoir , 10m. 

Lewis, Mr. J. L., 84, 105. 

Liberal Party, 61-2, 63, 64, 71, 73m., 

Lippmann, Mr. Walter, 97m. 
Liverpool, 2. 

Lloyd’s list, 36m. 


Locarno Treaty, 120. 

Logan, Professor H. A., 58m., 103m. 
London, 80, 87, 98, 99, 103, 114, 
114m., 127. 

Long, Mr. B. K., 128m. 

Lower, Professor A. R. M., 45m., 71m., 

Macdonald, Sir John A., 120. 
MacGregor, Professor D. C., 33m. 
MacKay, Professor R. A., 63m. 
MacKay and Rogers, Canada Looks 
Abroad , 16m., 25m., 35m., 91m., 94m., 
120m., 122m., 124m., 126m., 131m. 
Mackenzie, Hon. Ian, 91m., 94m., 

Mackintosh, Professor W. A., 45m. 
McLaren, Professor W. W., 102m. 
MacLean, Mr. M. C., and Hurd, Pro¬ 
fessor W. B., 25m., 

Maine, U.S.A., 34. 

Manchuria, 106, 108, 134. 

Manitoba, 4, 49, 60, 65, 67, 69, 110. 
Maritime Provinces, 3, 7, 9, 34, 40, 
75, 81, 90, 99, 103. 
population of, 3, 3m., 7, 15, 19, 30. 
Marquis: see Wheat. 

Marsh, Professor L. C., 53m. 
Marshall, Southard, and Taylor, 
Canadian-A meric an Industry, 37 m. 
Mediterranean, 89. 

Mexico, 73m., 116. 

Canadian investments in, 33. 
Minnesota, U.S.A., 47. 

Molloy, Hon. John Patrick, 135m. 
Monroe Doctrine, 88, 91, 92, 115, 116. 
Montreal, 3, 10m., 17, 53, 55, 65, 73m., 
80, 90. 

Moscow, 17. 

Neutrality: see Canada. 

New Brunswick, 3, 13, 13m. 2, 15, 49, 
51, 67, 69, 90. 

New England states: 

Canada’s relation to, 7, 13, 103. 
French Canadians in, 15m., 103. 

Canada, and, 2, 20, 47. 
dominion status, and, 2. 

Labrador, and, 1. 

New Hampshire, U.S.A., re minimum 
wages, 51m. 

New York, 38. 

New Zealand, 20, 44, 59, 121, 140. 
North America, 1, 10, 23, 36, 42, 59, 
70, 85, 95, 102, 103, 104, 107, 109, 
110, 113, 130, 135, 138. 

Northwest Territories, 3, 69. 




Norway, In., 66, 12 5n., 144. 

Nova Scotia, 1, 3, 13, 13*., 45, 47, 49, 
60, 90, 91. 

Oceania, 42. 

One Big Union, 58. 

Ontario, 3-4, 9, 13, 13*.2, 15, 21, 22, 
24, 30, 35, 40,49, 51, 52, 52n., 54*., 
55, 56, 59*., 60, 62, 68, 69, 71, 72, 
99, 103, 113. 

Orientals: see Canada. 

Ottawa, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70*., 74, 80, 
81, 98, 114, 127, 129, 130. 

Ottawa Agreements: see British Com¬ 

Pacific Coast and Ocean, 1, 2, 4, 9, 
16, 34, 88, 89, 90, 91, 93, 94, 94*., 
97, 103, 111, 115. 

Padlock Act: see Quebec. 

Palmer, Mr. G. E. H., Consultation 
and Co-operation in the British Com¬ 
monwealth , 144*. 

Panama, 111. 

Panama Canal, 2, 34, 35. 

Pan-American Union, 105, 117, 133. 

Paris, 114*. 

Peru, 111. 

Plumptre, Professor A. F. W., 30*., 
31*., 33*., 34*., 35*., 38*., 40*., 

Poland, 44, 87. 

Prairie Provinces, 3*., 4, 9, 15, 16, 21, 
23, 30, 40, 45, 52, 56, 65, 81, 99, 
103, 113. 

Pre-Cambrian Shield: see Canadian 

Prince Edward Island, 3, 50, 60. 

Privy Council: 

aerial navigation, on, 48. 
appeals to, 65*., 77, 78, 98, 98*., 

defines limits of Labrador, 1. 
interpretations, 76-8, 79, 80, 80*., 

invalidates legislation, 49, 51, 107. 
upholds legislation on unfair trade 
practices, 49. 

Pulp and paper: see Canada. 

Quebec, 3-4, 9, 13*.2, 15, 15*., 17, 
19, 21, 22, 24, 24*., 30, 35, 40, 51, 
52, 52*., 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 62, 67, 
68, 69-74, 83, 85, 99, 103, 108, 110, 
113, 141. 

Padlock Act, 17*., 72, 73. 

Quebec Act (1774), 70. 

Reciprocity Treaty, Canada- 
U.S.A., (1911), 10, 84. 

(1935), 10, 41, 43, 63. 
Reconstruction Party, 32,66,66*.,67. 
Reid, Mr. Escott, 106*., 136, 137, 

Reward: see Wheat. 


Canadian investments in, 33. 
Southern, 44. 

Rome, 110. 

Roosevelt, President Franklin D., 
38*., 104, 105. 

Rowell Commission: see Canada, Do¬ 
minion-Provincial relations, Royal 
Commission on. 

Russia: see U.S.S.R. 

“S” 74*. 

Saint John, N.B., 90. 

Saint Lawrence: 

Gulf of, 2. 
river, 2, 3, 35, 90. 
valley, 3, 69. 

Saint Lawrence Waterways Treaty, 
35, 63. 

Sanctions: see Collective security. 
Saskatchewan, 4, 7, 13*., 24, 49, 51, 
52*., 54, 54*., 65, 66*., 67, 69. 
Scott, Professor F. R., 122*., 131*. 
Siegfried, Monsieur Andre, 25, 38*., 

64, 70*., 110, 130. 

Simon, Sir John, 106. 

Social Credit, 18, 32, 60, 65-6, 83, 141. 
Socialism and radicalism, 32, 56, 64, 

65, 66, 66*., 67, 68, 72, 73, 74, 105, 
135*., 141. 

South Africa, Union of, 20, 44, 98, 
100, 122, 129. 

South America, 42, 89,111-2,114,116. 
Soward, Professor F. H., 112, 135*. 
Spain: see War, Spanish. 

Stevens, Hon. H. H., 32, 67. 

Sverdrup Islands, In. 

Sweden, 52*., 66, 125*., 144. 

Sydney, N.S., 90, 91. 

Tariff: see Canada, Tariff. 

Taylor, Professor K. W., 32*., 37*., 

Tokyo, 88, 111, 114*. 

Toronto, 3, 28, 65, 67. 

Toynbee, Professor A. J., 108*., 121*. 
Trade Agreements: see Canada. 
Trades and Labour Congress of Can¬ 
ada, 23*., 58, 126*. 

Trades Unions: see Canada, labour 

INDEX 163 

Transportation: see Canada, trans¬ 
portation, and railways; Saint 
Lawrence; and Great Lakes. 

Treaty of Utrecht (1713), 13. 

Trotter, Professor R. G., 102*., 114*. 

Tupper, Sir Charles, 120. 

Underhill Professor F. H., 63*., 
121 *., 132*. 

Union Rationale , 68, 71-4, 141. 

United Empire Loyalists, 13, 16. 

United Kingdom: see Great Britain. 

United States, 52, 52*., 57, 58, 64, 69, 
71, 75, 79, 93, 97, 97*., 100, 124, 
140, 141. 

boundary with Canada, 1, 3, 5, 9, 
102, 103, 104. 

Canadian attitude towards, 84-5, 

Canadians living in, 16, 19, 103. 
relations with Canada, 10, 20, 24*., 
36-42, 43, 44, 58, 63, 87, 88, 89, 
91, 92, 93, 97, 98, 99, 102, 103-5, 
110, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 131, 
132, 137, 138, 139. 

U.S.S.R., 36, 73*., 85, 87, 89, 92, 
115, 116, 140-1. 

Vancouver, City of, 2, 28, 80, 91. 

Vancouver Island, 97. 


Abyssinian, attitude of Canadians 
towards, 17, 107, 108, 134. 
Canada’s isolation, and, 12, 86, 107, 
109, 116, 120, 127*., 132, 133. 

W a r —continued 

future, 71, 85, 86, 87-94, 95, 96, 
101, 106, 109, 120, 121*., 125*., 
132, 133, 135, 136, 137, 139, 
144, 150. 

Sino-Japanese, Canada’s attitude 
towards, 111, 140. 

Spanish, attitude of Canadians to¬ 
wards belligerents in, 17, 108, 
110, 111, 125, 126, 134, 140. 

World, (1914-18), 13*., 83, 100, 
105, 115, 140, 144. 

Ware, Professor N. J., 58*., 103*. 

Washington Conferences and Treat¬ 
ies, 111, 114*. 

Watson, Lord, 77, 78. 

West Indies, trade agreement with 

Canada (1926), 48. 

Westminster, Statute of, (1931), 121. 

Wheat, 30, 46, 52, 63, 118. 

Hudson Bay route, and, 2, 34. 

Marquis, 7. 

production in Canada, 4, 27, 30, 46, 
118, 139. 

Reward, 7. 

trade, Canada’s, 2, 27, 30, 33, 35, 
44, 46. 

Wilgus, Colonel Wm. J., 1*. 1. 

Willert, Sir A., 128*. 

Winnipeg, 28, 66, 126*. 

Woodsworth, Mr. J. S., 54*., 66, 

127*., 148. 

Yokohama, 2. 

Yukon, 3*. 




International Affairs, Book One 

and WAR 

by William Strange 

In fifty years Japan has leapt from comparative 
obscurity to a position whence she can challenge 
the peace of the world. The possibilities that he 
in the present war in China are of more grave con¬ 
cern to Canadians than many may realize. This 
book has been written in an attempt to clarify the 
Canadian view of the Pacific in general, and to 
give the thoughtful Canadian a background 
against which he can more intelligently compre¬ 
hend the day-to-day events of the Far East as 
reported in his daily newspaper. Published in 
November, 1937, under the auspices of the Cana¬ 
dian Institute of International Affairs. 

A clear and well-informed book upon the Far Eastern 
problem and Canada’s relation to it. 

—London Morning Telegraph . 

Canada , the Pacific and War offers in brief compass 
an excellently clear and non-technical introduction to 
the problems of the Pacific. — Queen’s Quarterly. 

Writing with remarkably clear vision, Mr. Strange 
sums up the dangers of the present situation. . . . His 
well-written book with its balanced judgment and 
evidence of careful investigation will arouse many ques¬ 
tions, and deserves close examination by those who 
realize that “the peace, the very civilization of the 
West, as well as the East, are at stake.” — Overseas . 

Very useful book. . . . Treats one aspect of Cana¬ 
dian affairs which has heretofore received little atten¬ 
tion. Outlining the relation of the Dominion to the 
struggle for power in the Pacific, Mr. Strange contem¬ 
plates the danger of war to Canadian safety. In 
stimulating journalese, he raises many problems of 
coastal defense which should interest citizens of both 
Canada and the United States. 

— Foreign Policy Bulletin (New York). 


Price in Great Britain 7/6 


91 Wellington Street West 





Price:—$3.00 in Canada; 12/6 in Great Britain; $3.50 in U.S.A. 

Peace theories and pacts have collapsed, ‘power’ politics, with the 
slogan ‘might is right’ have taken the field, and Canada—with the 
responsibility for her external relations resting squarely on her 
shoulders—must be prepared as are other nations to devote time and 
thought to international problems. Canada’s future foreign policy— 
which is made up of the cumulative views of individual citizens—must 
be formulated now, and this book, CANADA LOOKS ABROAD, 
answers a very pressing need in giving an unbiased and authoritative 
survey of all the facts about Canada which are of importance in de¬ 
termining this policy, and which should be considered by every 
intelligent citizen. 

Part I of this book gives a sound geographical and economic back¬ 
ground; Part II traces the historical development of Canada’s foreign 
policy; Part III studies the machinery of this part of government, 
with chapters on treaty power and neutrality; Part IV suggests four 
policies for the future, with the logical arguments for each. An 
appendix gives the text of important documents and speeches, and 
the book is carefully documented and annotated throughout. 

Comments from reviewers — 

One of the most significant and important studies in Canadian 
public policy undertaken in recent years. It ought to be read by all 
editors, parliamentarians, students, and intelligent citizens. 

—Financial Post . 

The first comprehensive survey of the Dominion’s external rela¬ 
tions. Carefully organized and objectively written, with relevant 
documents and bibliography, it represents a masterly handling of 
complex and difficult problems. Americans who are interested in the 
attitude of their northern neighbors toward foreign affairs will find 
here an intelligent and provocative approach to such problems as 
neutrality, collective security, and empire co-operation. 

—Foreign Policy Bulletin (New York). 

A thorough treatment of the subject, “a stock-taking” . . . which 
takes rank as the indispensable reference work in the field. 

—Canadian Historical Review . 


480 University Avenue 

Issued under the auspices of the 






A Decade of League 

URDAY NIGHT January 24, 1942 

For Social Reconstruction 


Has there ever been as much social change in any decade as in that 
between 1932 and 1942? 

That period is the lifetime of the League for Social Reconstruction, 
which, founded in Toronto in January 1932, has seen quite a lot of 
its ideas come true and others come at least nearer to realization. 

Professor F. R. Scott of McGill, who was one of the original members, 
here sketches the work of the League and suggests that there is still 
need for thinking about the future of Canada. 

T EN years ago, in January 1932, 
about eighteen people met in Tor¬ 
onto to draft a manifesto for a new 
social order in Canada. So large an 
undertaking for so small a group 
was undoubtedly presumptuous, the 
more so as most of them were pro¬ 
fessors—men, that is, whose ideas 
about practical affairs were by def¬ 
inition academic and hence untrust¬ 
worthy. Those were days when the 
aura of infallibility had not yet worn 
off the captains of industry, though 
in places it was wearing thin; nor had 
“brain trusts” yet become an accept¬ 
ed institution of government. 

However the world was due for 
great changes, that was clear, and 
these individuals were determined to 
create an organization through which 
to dissiminate their views about the 
future. Thus was born the League 
for Social Reconstruction. It defined 
itself as “an association of men and 
women who are working for the 
establishment in Canada of a social 
order in which the basic principle 
regulating production, distribution 
and service will be the common good 
rather than private profit.” The sub¬ 
stitution of democratic planning for 
capitalist anarchy was the central 
idea of the movement. 

Ten years is a short time in 
the life of human communities. Great 
changes come slowly, perhaps partic¬ 
ularly slowly in Canada, a country 
which has not yet fully awakened 
from the long sleep of colonialism. 
But future historians will probably 
consider the decade of the 1930’s as 
being one of the most compressed 
periods of revolutionary change that 
the world has ever known. To gain 
some measure of how far we have 
moved, even in Canada, let the read¬ 
er substitute the words “war effort” 
for the words “common good” in the 
L.S.R. statement and then ask him¬ 
self whether the amended declara¬ 
tion of purpose would not be accepted 
by 95% of Canadians today. 

If, by subordinating private profit 
to “w'ct't' effort” we can produce the 
astonishing increase of physical goods 
and services now evident in Canada 

by comparison with 1932, why could 
we not have produced the same in¬ 
crease before the war by subordinat¬ 
ing private profit to the “common 
good”? The war effort needs ships, 
guns, planes, tanks. The common 
good needs houses, schools, hospitals, 
roads, libraries, museums and more 
goods and services of all kinds. One 
is as easy to supply as the other. 

The only thing wrong with the 
L.S.R. idea, it seems, was that we 
did not adopt it. Now we have been 
forced toward it by the war emer¬ 
gency. Mr. Hitler has been more 
persuasive than all the L.S.R. pub¬ 
lications. Changing the economic 
system, it becomes clear, is primarily 
a problem of changing our habits of 

T HE L.S.R. achievements in the 
way of publications have not been 
spectacular. It took as its model the 
Fabian Society, the early tutor of the 
British Labor Party. Even Canadian 
radicals have their imperialist con¬ 
nections; or perhaps it would be tru¬ 
er to say that they must look out¬ 
side the “Tory Dominion,” as the 
New Statesman has called us, for 
their inspiration. The American 
League for Industrial Democracy was 
another model consciously followed. 
But it is easier to copy an organiza¬ 
tion than to reproduce its personnel, 
and Canada could have used a 
Beatrice and a Sydney Webb. More 
particularly did we need a Bernard 
Shaw and an H. G. Wells; men, that 
is, who could inject new ideas with 

the needle of art rather than through 
an attempt to feed the patient with 
the tough meat of statistics and eco¬ 
nomic analysis. But alas, all Can¬ 
adian art has done for us is to teach 
us to admire our landscape through 
pictures; it has not yet opened our 
eyes to our social \lces or portrayed 
for us a glorious future. Yet this 
seems the only way to reach the mul¬ 

Nevertheless the L.S.R. did not per¬ 
haps do so badly, using such poor 
things as Frank Underhill, King Gor¬ 
don, Eugene Forsey, Leonard Marsh, 

J. F. Parkinson, Graham Spry, 
George Grube and others. Its major 
work was the preparation and, rather • 
surprisingly to itself, the publication 
of Social Planning for Canada. Into 
that cumbersome and rather disjoint¬ 
ed volume went the arguments, the 
complaints, possibly the vision, of 
the planners. Though only seven men 
signed their names as co-authors of 
the book, its actual writing and com¬ 
pilation was the result of the joint 
effort of fully twenty-five individuals 
who might with some fairness be 
classed as experts in their fields. 

No doubt this collective cooking is 
evident in the broth. Still the book 
sold, thus meeting the final test of 
capitalism. It ran through a second 
printing, and the royalties financed 
the L.S.R. for another two years. Not 
a little of the credit for this success 
must be given to the anonymous pam¬ 
phleteer (well known to the members 
of the L.S.R.) who wrote a sixty page 
attack on the volume and its perni- 
• cious ideas, and had his diatribe dis¬ 
tributed from the head office of his 
employers, one of the largest cor¬ 
porations in Canada, to a number 
of business men. That sent the sale 
up by the hundreds. 

npHE only other book to be pub- 
lished by the L.S.R. was Democ¬ 
racy needs Socialism, intended as a 
more popular version of Social Plan¬ 
ning for Canada. It is doubtful if the 
L.S.R. could ever be popular in any 
sense of the term, and this second 
venture received, as it deserved, less 
attention than its predecessor, though 
managing to dispose of itself in due 
time. Then there were a number of 
pamphlets brought out during the 
decade; Combines and the Consumer, 
Dividends and the Depression, So¬ 
cial Reconstruction and the B.N.A. 
Act, Does Canada Need Immigrants? 
The Church and the Economic 
Order, Recovery—For Whom?, Pion¬ 
eers in Poverty, Rich Man—Poor 

These did not achieve the wide 
scale that pamphlets must if they are 
to result in political change, but no 
doubt helped to spread the L.S.R. 
ideas. The L.S.R. also presented a 
brief to the Sirois Commission (who 
did not?), subsequently published 
under the title Canada, One or Nine?, 
the proposals of which can truthful¬ 
ly be said to have found a very con¬ 
siderable degree of acceptance in the 
final recommendations of the Com¬ 
mission. The L.S.R. bought, and 
saved from bankruptcy, the Cana¬ 
dian Forum, which it still owns. 
L.S.R. members, too, have done their 
fair share of public lecturing, both to 
their own and to other groups. At 
one time the organization had as 
many as twelve branches. 

F ROM the very first the relation¬ 
ship between the L.S.R. and the 
C.C.F. caused some concern. Ob¬ 
viously both were aiming at the same 
kind of new social order. But the 
L.S.R. carefully refrained from af¬ 
filiating with the C.C.F., so as to 
preserve its independence and its 
right to criticize. Hence L.S.R. pub- 






During 1941, new settled business 
both ordinary and group, showed sub¬ 
stantial increases. The amount of 
business in force was increased by 
$2,956,056. Total business in force 
now stands at the highest point in 
Company history. 

During 1941, total expenses of opera¬ 
tion were reduced for the sixth 
successive year. 

Earnings during the year were well 
maintained. These earnings were used 
to write down assets and to strengthen 
still further the security standing be¬ 
hind the Company’s policy contracts. 

During the year, total ledger assets 
were increased to $13,603,606.32. 
This is the highest total in Company 

National Life 

Assurance Company 

of Canada 

Home Office 

18 9 7 

lications are not official C.C.F. pub¬ 
lications. The L.S.R., too, was first 
in the field, for the C.C.F. was not 
formed till July, 1932. It is interest¬ 
ing to note however that the political 
party was formed entirely independ¬ 
ently of the intellectual movement, 
for no L.S.R. members attended the 
Calgary meeting at which the C.C.F. 
was organized. Mr. Woodsworth, it 
is true, was president of both move¬ 
ments—but then nothing progressive 
and democratic could occur in those 
days without J. S. Woodsworth be¬ 
ing somewhere in the picture. It 
was not long before most L.S.R. mem¬ 
bers became individual members of 
the C.C.F., and a comparison between 
the Regina manifesto of the C.C.F. in 
1933 and the L.S.R. manifesto of 
1932 will indicate the degree of in¬ 
fluence which the eastern theoreti¬ 
cians had upon the western political 

Persecution? Some, but perhaps 
not more than was to be expected in 
a movement starting where it did 
at the time it did. There were some 
near escapes from loss of positions, 
and one prominent member of the in¬ 
ner L.S.R. group was deprived of his 
post in a Canadian college. His exile 

to Siberia meant a new and success¬ 
ful career in the United States. Such 
things occur even in the best democ 
racies. The Canadian touch was the 
later discovery that a prominent 
member of his Board of Trustees was 
connected with a corporation that 
had failed to fulfil all its obligations 
with respect to corporation taxes. 

Today, after ten years, the L.S.R. 
has virtually ceased to function as 
an organization. There has been a 
dispersal of leaders, and the actual¬ 
ities of politics, particularly since 
the new advances of the C.C.F., seem 
more attractive today than the pur¬ 
suit of theoretic truth. This is per¬ 
haps a pity, for if ever Canadians 
should be concerned about their 
future it is now. Victory must be 
won, but it is going to require more 
than military victory to steer us 
through the coming years: the total 
elimination of Canada is more like¬ 
ly to occur through annexation to 
the United States than through occu¬ 
pation by Hitler. We shall only sur¬ 
vive as a nation if we have a live 
ideal of ourselves as a nation. The 
L.S.R. has contributed a great deal 
toward the formulation of that ideal. 

“ ,. . that owing to a disastrous 
power plant explosion our war produc¬ 
tion has been seriously curtailed and 
we are forced to withdraw entirely from 
civilian production.” 

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